Rockpooling in Falmouth Bay

Rockpooling in Falmouth Bay, Cornwall

The Rock Pool Project’s Guide to Falmouth’s Coastal Wildlife

Equipment and advice

Rock pooling is a very cheap summer activity. You don't need a lot of special equipment and you may well already have everything you need. Coastal rocks can be sharp or they can be slippery, so thick soles with good grips are recommended. Wellies are perfect, and old trainers are good too but make sure to rinse the salt off of them afterwards. Prepare for the Great British weather, a.k.a. anything can happen. It's also a good idea to keep a change of clothes handy, in case you get even closer to the rock pool life than you intended.

A good field guide will greatly enhance your rock pooling experience. There are many UK guides available, and some good options include:

  • Collins Complete Guide to British Coastal Wildlife
  • Seasearch Guide to Seaweeds of Britain and Ireland
  • RSPB Handbook of the Seashore
  • Rock Pool: Extraordinary Encounters Between the Tides:  Just published, this book by local Cornish author Heather Buttivant gives you a more in depth (sorry) knowledge of the creatures who inhabit the pools around the Cornish coast. Check out Heather's award winning rock pooling website here.

It is not really necessary to collect your wildlife in a bucket. If you do, remember to replace water in the bucket regularly and provide some cover for the animals inside, and ensure to put all wildlife back in the rock pools when you have had a look.  

There are some great waterproof cameras out there but they can be expensive. You can use a normal camera or your phone but obviously you are risking disaster if you drop it in rock pool, so don't do that! Salt in the air is also bad for cameras, so keep them in a bag when you are not taking pictures. There are many waterproof cases available for smartphones, which are relatively cheap. Search online shops for your model of phone.


Where to go


Falmouth is a great spot for rock pooling. Make sure you check the tides so that you know the rock pools will be uncovered and that you will be safe (this can be done online or get a copy of the tide times from the Falmouth Tourist Information Centre), and then head to Castle, Gyllyngvase, Swanpool or Maenporth beaches. These all have great rock pools full of interesting wildlife waiting for you to discover! Castle beach is the best choice if the tide is not yet too low as the rock pools are uncovered within a short time, however access can be slightly harder for this beach as there are a number of steps and sloping paved paths. Close by is Gyllyngvase, which has easier access and many shallow crystal clear rock pools to either side of a beautiful sandy beach, making it a great choice for the whole family. These rock pools are also uncovered fairly early on when the tide starts to ebb. Swanpool and Maenporth beaches have deeper rock pools containing a variety of marine life, however these are uncovered only when the tide is lower and there is some clambering involved, so make sure you are prepared and take care on the slippery seaweed.


Rock Pooling Events

We run family events every other Sunday in the Falmouth area, and regular walking and kayaking tours. We also appear at lots of events and on the beach with our mobile rock pool. For more details you can sign up to our newsletter here. You can also book on to any of our ticketed events through our website, or by visiting our events page.

The Rock Pool Project: About Us

Rock Pool Project

We are passionate about bringing the joy of marine wildlife to everyone. The aim of the Rock Pool Project is to empower us all to improve our relationship with the marine environment by connecting science and education. The project is led by a highly experienced professional marine biologist and an equally experienced primary school teacher, and supported by a talented and enthusiastic volunteer network.

We are a not-for-profit community interest company start up (officially named People Power Science CIC Ltd), who formed in March 2018.