Are you ready to visit a hidden world? To explore a land that only appears twice a day and only then for a few hours. If you are then be prepared to discover a landscape full of weird and wonderful creatures and seaweeds.
To carefully clamber over a rocky shore is an amazing way to spend an hour. So if you’ve never experienced the rocky shore close up, or it’s been a while since you’ve done it, here’s our list of rock pooling do’s and don’ts…
- No nets please – all you need are your hands and a keen eye. Alternatively you can use an empty margarine pot as a scoop. Whether using your hands or a pot be very careful with the residents of Hannafore’s rocky shore.
- Two Buckets – Always put a crab in a separate bucket, one crab per bucket. This will ensure that nothing you find ends up as lunch.
- A guide to identify your finds – not essential but fun. These can be bought for a few pounds.
- A camera – Take only pictures and leave only your footprints.
- A watch to keep an eye on the time.
Where to go
- Hannafore Beach and rocky shore is by far the best place in Looe for rock pooling. From the Hannafore Kiosk (PL13 2DJ) you can gain easy access to the beach. At the top of the path, above the toilets, is a large interpretation board telling you what wildlife to look out for. From here, walk down the path. Leading off the beach towards Looe Island is a concrete path – follow it down onto the middle and lower rocky shore.
Parking and facilities
- Free parking along Marine Drive, Hannafore. Toilets are 100m from the Kiosk down on the seafront.
How to look
You’re considerably bigger than any of the tiny creatures you are searching for so please be gentle and careful.
- On the top of rocks you’ll easily spot topshells, winkles and limpets but the more interesting creatures will be hiding away from predators, the sun, wind and of course rock poolers.
- Try gently turning over stones and small boulders (turning them back afterwards) to find star fish, under seaweed to find crabs, in crevasses in rocks to find sea squirts and sponges.
- In rock pools, spot a variety of anemones with wonderful names like snakelock, dahlia and strawberry; and fish such as the Cornish suckerfish, goby or shanny.
- On the upper shore brought in on a high tide, you may find cuttlefish bones,’By the Wind Sailors (a distant jellyfish relative) and ‘Mermaid’s purses – the egg cases of skates, sharks and rays.
- Most importantly of all return all your finds back where you found them when it’s time to leave.
What to wear and keeping safe
- Seaweed is very slippery (step carefully on bare rock where you can) and the rocks can be sharp so a pair of sturdy, gripping shoes is essential. Swimming costume, shorts and T-shirt – be prepared for everything to get wet!
- Always check local area tidal times. It’s best to start rock pooling an hour before low tide, have an hour exploring, and leave before the tide starts coming back in.
- Sun cream and a hat if its sunny!
- Have a wonderful time and please send any pictures to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.