Rock pooling is a fantastic way to experience nature up close, especially for children and teenagers. Plus, it’s absolutely free – no need for pricey gear like wetsuits.
All it takes to get started is a sturdy pair of shoes, sun protection, and a thirst for adventure. Once you have these, you can venture out along the coast to let yourself be caught up in the thrill of it.
In the UK, there is no better place for rock pooling than Devon, a region that can boast a stunning coastline, shaped by complex geological processes. This region’s beaches provide a wealth of adventure for willing explorers. Whether it’s sea caves, natural pools, gentle coves, or marine wildlife like starfish, anemones, molluscs and limpets – you will discover all of these and much more.
Prior to heading out, you need to do some basic planning for your adventure. Check when the tides are rising and falling. Usually, this information is available online. Otherwise, you can ask the local tourist information centre. Another thing to be mindful of is local wildlife – make sure that your planned route doesn’t cross any protected areas and that you respect the habitats of marine life.
Ready to set out on your rock pooling quest? Fantastic! To give you the inside scoop, we asked the local experts at Luxury Coastal to give us a heads-up on the best rock pooling places along the coast of Devon.
To begin with, Wembury beach is one of the UK’s best spots to go rock pooling. It can boast a thriving marine ecosystem. At low tide, a huge variety of pools of all sizes and shapes stretches silvery into the distance. They are the home of fascinating species like sea scorpions, pipe fish, anemones, spiny anemones, sucker fish, and shore crabs.
Near Salcombe in South Hams, you will find Hope Cove, in the middle of an officially designated Area of Outstanding Beauty. When the tide subsides, it exposes a plethora of pools that allow you to observe species like periwinkles, shrimp, and hermit crabs. Time to get out the wildlife guides!
Next up, Preston Sands hides its treasures well. If you stand at the end of the promenade when the tide is high, it’s difficult to imagine the treasures hidden under the deep azure waves.
Coming back a few hours later, though, you’ll be thrilled to discover an intricate system of rocky outcrops that feature some of the most stunning rock pools in the Torbay.
If you’re near Exmouth and interested in rock pooling, you can’t miss Maer Rocks. The two-mile sandy expanse of Exmouth beach is a staple family destination and a hotspot for fans of water sports. Just a few miles to the south and east, though, you’ll find Maer Nature Reserve and Maer Rocks. Here, too, you can enjoy a lovely sandy beach, but also explore a seemingly never-ending expanse of stunning rock pools.