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A guide to rock pooling

At Ladram we’re rock pooling aficionados and love to indulge our inner child along the shore of Ladram Bay.

Our latest guide is intended to aid those both young and old to discover some fascinating creatures.

When to go rock pooling?

You can go rock pooling at any time of the year however we would generally advise those with younger children to stick to March – September, this way you’ll avoid those cold fingers. Remember the sea is generally warmest towards the end of the summer.



Ladram Bay (pictured) provides a great family environment to go rock pooling however it is best experienced when the weather is calm and dry as the rock pools will be still and therefore easier to spot creatures.

Where to look in a rock pool?

In most rock pools you’re likely to find green seaweed (called gut weed) and this is not good for rock pooling. The ideal time to go rock pooling is when the tide is out as the pools closest to the sea edge offer the best locations.

Try not to cast a shadow over the area you wish to rock pool in, your shadow will scare the creatures away.

Who lives in rock pools?

Eagle eyed and lucky rock pooler’s could be lucky enough to spot any of the following creatures at Ladram Bay or wider southwest;

  • Butterfish
  • Blenny
  • Goby
  • Lumpsucker
  • Pipefish
  • Crab
  • Prawns & shrimp
  • Star fish
  • Sea hares (slug)

In the bottom of rock pools you can see star fish, sea slugs and possibly a crab. Remember you’ll need to look carefully as hermit crabs might use a periwinkle for a shell.

The most adventurous rock pooler’s will be no stranger to getting their hands wet, be it turning over rocks or looking under seaweed. Doing so could uncover keel worms, sea squirts or sponges – all prize finds for rock pooler’s. Remember to return all creatures back to the area you found them.

Tools of the trade

Any self respecting rock pooler requires a bucket (clear buckets are best), this way you’ll be able to get a good look at the creatures you retrieve.

Traditionalists might bring along a net however please be aware that many creatures are very delicate and can get tangled/ hurt in nets. Avoid jabbing nets into pools.

It is also a good idea to wear shoes with grippy soles as rock pools can be slippy places. Wetsuit boots, old trainers and welly boots will do.

Tidal movements

Always keep an eye on the tides and when they are due to turn, set an alarm if necessary. You are generally going to spend most of your time looking into rock pools and might be unaware of the tidal movements around you.

For 7 day tide times for Ladram Bay visit the beach guide website.

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