Rock Pooling

National Trust 50 Things to do Before you’re 11 3/4

We’ve had a National Trust family membership for years. It’s great fun going out for the day exploring, and with an annual family membership we can take up to 10 children.  We only have 3 Grandchildren, I can’t imagine taking 10 for a day out!

The National Trust has updated its list of 50 things to do before you are 11 ¾ and revealed the best places to do them.  Number 37 is Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool – South Milton Sands, Devon.  We love going rock pooling and our favourite place in Croyde Bay.

Croyde Bay

We always go to Croyde Bay for a family holiday once a year and our Grandsons love going rock pooling.  It’s great fun seeing what creatures you can find in the small pools.  There always seems to be something new to discover.

Croyde Bay has a large sandy beach with huge sand dunes behind.  When the tide goes out it leaves plenty of rock pools to explore.

What do you need for Rock Pooling

First on your list should be a bucket and a net.  When you sea a creature in the rock pool you can either gently scoop it up by putting your bucket in the water or if you are very careful you can use a net.  Don’t leave the creatures in the bucket too long as they’ll be missing their rock pool.

Make sure you wear shoes with a good grip when rock pooling. Old trainers, wellies or wetsuit boots with a thick sole are ideal. Flip-flops are useless!  Our grandsons wear the stretchy beach shoes which have a good grip and are fine to get wet.

It’s handy to have a good rock pooling guide book so you can have a look to see the names of the creatures you’ve found.  Or you can download a Spotter Sheet

Which are the best Rock Pools

Rock pools are formed when the tide goes out and seawater is left behind in between the rocks. The shallow pools are amazing micro-habitats full of incredible creatures.

It’s best to start looking in the rock pools that are closest to the sea.  These pools will be filled with just sea water are you are more likely to find rock pool creatures in these.

The rock pools that are closer to the beach are sometimes filled with seaweed and a mixture of seawater and freshwater which isn’t very good for rock pooling.

What can you find in a Rock Pool?

Our Grandson’s favourite fish to find in a rock pool is a Goby.  You may also find other small fish such as a Butterfish or Blenny. You might spot a pipefish, they have a snout that is long and thin like a pipe and they come from the same family as seahorses.

You’ll have to look very carefully for prawns and shrimps as they dart about and are sometimes quite translucent.

At the bottom of rock pools you might see a starfish and maybe some sea slugs.   It’s always very exciting when the Boys find a a hermit crab that’s made its home in an old sea shell.

Remember to gently turn over the stones and seaweed in the rock pool as the creatures are quite often hiding beneath it.  But be careful as they are quite delicate and you don’t want to hurt them.

Take care and have fun

Have fun exploring the rock pools but always be careful and treat the creatures you find carefully.

It’s really important to check tide times for the area you intend to explore – the last thing you want is to be caught out by a rising tide. The best time to set out is at low tide as this is when the greatest number of rock pools will be exposed.

I hope you have as much fun rock poling as we do.

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12 thoughts on “Rock Pooling, National Trust 50 things to do”

  1. I love going rock pooling with the kids – they’re always so fascinated to see how many creatures are living in that open water. I never thought about starting closest to the sea though – we’d always do it in the opposite direction as we’d come from the beach down to the shore, but it makes perfect sense to do it your way!

  2. We visited a rockpool earlier this year and my kids loved it. I don’t think I would have noticed any creatures if it wasn’t for them wanting to go and see. We saw a sea urchin, starfish by the dozens, 2 crabs, and some tiddler fish. Great learning experience

  3. The memories! I love Croyde. We used to go a lot when I lived in Bristol. My son would love this. One to add to the summer activities list! Thanks for the spotter sheet, that’s really useful!

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