Where are Norfolk's best beaches to take the children rock pooling?

National Marine Week at West Runton (photo: Matthew Roberts)

Exploring the rock pools in West Runton - Credit: Archant

Rock pools are the result of rocky coasts, so are less prevalent on Norfolk's soft beaches.

They can be found near Cretaceous chalk and flint deposits, such as those beaches in and around Sheringham, Cromer, and Hunstanton.

Rock pools are like portals to the bottom of the ocean, teeming with wildlife to be found.

West Runton is a part of Norfolk's Deep History Coast, so is the home of lots of fossils. But its rock pools are equally full of mystery - housing urchins, shore crabs, sea-scorpions, starfish, anemones, and hermit crabs.

Hunstanton, like Runton, also has a lot of history, with its famous striped cliffs. Ammonites and shark teeth are commonly found on the beach, whilst in the expansive rock pools you can find crabs, starfish, and other creatures. 

 Hunstanton Beach lit by the late afternoon sun

Hunstanton Beach lit by the late afternoon sun - Credit: citizenside.com

Cromer and Sheringham's pools also have lots to discover - like squat lobsters, velvet swimming crabs (careful: these can nip), winkles, and anemones, as well as fossils of coral and brachiopods.

Sea Palling also has huge rocks that are accessible during low tide where you can spot anemones, winkles, and starfish. But be careful, they are deep, and it's easy to get caught out during high tide.

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When to go:

  • Low tide - you can check this online but it's generally early morning or late afternoon
  • On a dry, calm day, so water is still for best visibility
  • In the summer months, with September being best as the water is at its warmest
Rockpooling at West Runton (photo: Matthew Roberts)

Rockpooling at West Runton (photo: Matthew Roberts) - Credit: Archant

Make sure to bring:

  • A bucket - always return the creatures you find to their pool
  • A magnifying glass - to see everything up close
  • Water shoes or other footwear that are grippy, rockpools can be slippery.
  • Towels in case you get wet

Start at the sea edge and work back with the tide, to avoid missing the pools furthest out. Sit quietly and try not to cast a shadow over the pool you're looking in. 

Gently turn over seaweed and rocks to reveal inhabitants. Look out for transparent prawns, starfish, limpets, and whelks, but don't use nets on the delicate life in the pools.

Do you know somewhere great for rock pooling? Use the comments field to share your experiences.