North Cornwall Rocks

Best Cornwall Beaches for Rock Pooling

There are plenty of beautiful beaches to visit in North Cornwall, but if you are looking for places to do some rock pooling, you might want to visit one of our top picks.

Top picks for Rock Pooling in North Cornwall

Duckpool – Bude

If you want to do some rock pooling near Bude, Duckpool is a lovely little beach just north of the town. This small, west-facing beach is managed by the National Trust and due to it’s fairly remote location, is rarely busy.
The beach is at the mouth of the Coombe Valley, with a river following the valley and exiting on the beach which is nestled between high cliffs.
Duckpool is very tidal, so make sure you check tide times before you set off as it is almost completely under water at high tide.
There is a car park close and access to the beach is easy.

Hannafore – Looe

Hannafore Beach to the West of Looe has to be one of the best places for rock pooling in Cornwall. The beach is mainly shingle, but there are large expanses of rock exposed at low tide with masses of rock pools to explore. The beach has a fabulous backdrop of Looe Island, Cornwall's only marine nature reserve.
A large sign near Hannafore Kiosk shows you lots of different rock pool wildlife to look out for, and can help if you are stuck when identifying your finds!
Rockpool Ramble events are held on Hannafore by the Looe Marine Conservation Group throughout the year - booking is essential.
There is on road parking near to the beach, but if this is full you can use one of the main car parks in Looe and walk to Hannafore.

Polzeath – Wadebridge

This beach is best known for it’s expanse of sand, but Polzeath also has small rock pools scattered all around the bay. If you are new to rock pooling you might want to join one of the Rock Pool Ramble events which are held throughout the year on this beach by
There are parking and toilets available close by and easy, level access to the beach.

Talland Bay – Looe

This shingle beach of Talland Bay is situated between Looe and Polperro and has lots of small rock pools. There are also some large tidal pools that are great for swimming in and occasionally some larger fish and crabs can be spotted in.
There is a car park, toilets, a shop and café available at Talland Bay, and there is easy sloped access to the beach.

Treyarnon – Padstow

There are lots of rock pools on the northern side of the beach, and also between Treyarnon Bay and Constantine Bay. There is one large rock pool which is big enough to swim in, and is a great place for families to try out snorkelling.
There is parking and toilets available at the beach, and a shop which is open during the summer months.

Top Tips for Rock Pooling

  1. The best time to visit a beach for rock pooling is a couple of hours after high tide. This will mean that the rock pools will be freshly exposed, but you will have a good few hours before the tide starts to head back in again. Even if you are engrossed at the world beneath your feet, remember to check on the tide regularly so you don’t get cut off by the returning water.
  2. Check the weather before you head off, if it’s windy you might want to visit a beach which is facing a direction that offers a little wind protection.
  3. Bring a bucket or two with you if you want to have a closer look at anything you find. It’s a good idea to put any crabs in a separate bucket to your other finds – or they might end up as a snack for the crab! Nets are not advised in rock pools as they can easily damage delicate
  4. Handle anything you find carefully and release any wildlife where you found it. If you move big stones or objects that animals might be living under, make sure those are put back before you leave. Take only pictures – leave only your footprints.
  5. Dress appropriately for your exploration. Some grippy shoes that you don’t mind getting wet will be able to help you climb slippery surfaces and protect your feet from sharp rocks.
  6. Look along the shoreline as well as in the pools and you might find items bought in by the high tide such as egg cases and cuttlefish bones.

Have fun! We would love to see your finds and hear about any other great rock pooling spots – tag us on social media or use the hashtag #northcornwallrocks.