Sarah Hodgson of The Fine Foundation Wild Seas Centre at Kimmeridge takes us rockpooling

Go on a Rockpool Safari

When the tide retreats from an undulating rocky shore, it leaves behind underwater worlds of flora and fauna in rock pools. Out of the water sea anemones look like blobs of jelly, but when submerged in a rock pool their tentacles unfurl like exotic flowers. These delicate tentacles are packed with minute stinging cells to catch and paralyse their prey, though not humans!

You need to be quick to spot the little fish darting between the cover of seaweed and rocks. Common rockpool-dwelling fish include blennies and gobies. Rarely seen out in the open, clingfish attach themselves to the underside of rocks using a sucker on their abdomen. In fact, a whole host of animals can be found living underneath rocks, you might spot starfish, sea squirts, and even shrimps.

If you’re planning a rock pooling adventure, Kimmeridge is a top spot for this, check your tide times and go at low tide. While rock pool species might be hardy to cope with the ever-changing conditions on the seashore, we need to take care when rockpooling. Always follow the Seashore Code:

* Replace everything carefully, exactly as you found it

* Observe wildlife where it lives - don’t pull any seaweed or animals from the rocks

* Avoid trampling on seaweed – there might be animals underneath and it’s very slippery!

* Take all your litter home or put it in a bin

Visit for coastal events and more information on the species you might spot while rock pooling in Dorset.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Velvet swimming crab. (Photo: Sarah Hodgson)Velvet swimming crab. (Photo: Sarah Hodgson)

Crabby Residents

Many crab species can be found on our seashore. Shore crabs are one of the most common, but you might also find brown crabs; velvet swimming crabs (pictured) identifiable by their bright red eyes; hermit crabs which occupy empty sea snail shells and spider crabs with their knobbly carapace. Another species which, although native, is a more recent arrival on the Dorset coast is the furrowed crab. These are more abundant in Devon and Cornwall, but with warming seas their range is expanding.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Plastic nurdles on a beach amongst the shells and sand. (Photo: Simon Shepheard/iStock /Getty Images Plus)Plastic nurdles on a beach amongst the shells and sand. (Photo: Simon Shepheard/iStock /Getty Images Plus)

What are nurdles?

Our seas and marine wildlife are under increasing pressure from climate change, over-exploitation and pollution. Marine litter is a big problem, and one source of pollution is nurdles, tiny plastic pellets (pictured) which are the raw material used in manufacturing. Finding their way into the ocean from spills in factories or during transportation, they pose a threat to seabirds and marine life. We can all help by reducing the amount of plastic, especially single-use plastic items, that we use in our daily lives.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Grey seal. (Photo: Jeremy Richards/iStock/Getty Images Plus)Grey seal. (Photo: Jeremy Richards/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Seal Spotting

Both grey seals and common seals are frequently spotted along the Dorset coast. Seals have unique markings and patterns in their fur making it possible to identify and track individuals. By cataloguing photos showing their distinguishing features, we can learn if any seals are regular visitors to the area or just passing through. If you spot a seal, report your sighting to Dorset Wildlife Trust. Remember to always keep your distance to avoid causing disturbance.