Look out for
Rockpools are like little windows on the world. You never know what you’re going to find. It’s always exciting to spot a St Piran’s hermit crab. They disappeared from Britain in the 1980s, but are starting to come back. They have bright red antennae and eyes with a white and black chequerboard pattern. We’re finding more and more in the southwest now as they return to our shores. The shanny is sometimes known as a sea frog and has large, smiling lips. You’ll often find it tucked into crevices when the tide retreats, as it can survive out of water. Dog whelks might look innocent, but are pretty vicious, drilling through other shelled animals then releasing a digestive enzyme and drinking their victim like soup. Velvet swimmer crabs are known as devil crabs, due to their red eyes and feisty behaviour, thought to compensate for their softer shells.
Avoid using nets
We prefer to use clear plastic containers, so we can get a better look, but we always put back exactly where it came from.
Choose your footwear
No flips-flops or bare feet. Always opt for wellies with a good grip or a pair of old walking boots you can get wet.
Go an hour before low tide
That’s when more of the shore is exposed. If you can visit at extremely low tide, you will find really exciting things that are often underwater for weeks at a time.
Try it at night-time
Rockpooling at night is magical. We have UV torches and snakelock anemones in particular glow like neon lights. Lots of sea creatures are nocturnal, like crabs, so they’re all out and about.
Alan Smith is education director and co-founder of therockpoolproject.co.uk