One of the most biodiverse areas that we have in the UK can be found around the tidal zones of our shores.
Of particular interest to me are rock pools as they are easily accessible, full of wildlife and we have a large expanse of them running from the east of the Marina all the way through to Saltdean.
On the bigger (spring tides) these rocky areas are uncovered by the sea to reveal a myriad of pools, nooks and crannies full of marine life and the opportunity to explore these interesting habitats.
The best time for rock pooling, in my opinion, is from spring through to autumn as there is generally more to see and the weather is much kinder to be poking around in pools of water.
You can expect to find such animals as crabs, prawns, small fish and shell fish as well as the occasional surprise such as a lobster.
By carefully lifting up rocks or by quietly sitting and observing a rock pool you might be quite surprised at the variety of life that can be seen.
Along with varied animal life various species of algae (seaweed) can be found growing on the rocks and in the rock pools themselves.
By going armed with a small net and a bucket you can collect animals and plants for closer inspection and easier identification. But if you are doing this remember to put the animals back into their pool and only keep them in your bucket of sea water for a minimal period of time. They are wild animals and can easily be stressed. Also be mindful to replace any rocks you lift up.
Although rock pooling can be very enjoyable (and free to do) it is always wise to follow a few health and safety dos and don’ts. Make sure you wear suitable clothing such as waterproof trousers and wellington boots and make sure that you know the tide times and do not get stranded by the tide. Rocks can be slippery so always mind your footing.
If you fancy getting away from the crowds then the rock pools adjacent to the east arm of Brighton Marina tend to be quiet although access is a little tricky. The pools at Rottingdean and Saltdean are easily accessible but tend to be a lot busier, especially in the summer holidays.
If you just fancy getting out and about for a few hours and exploring nature rock pooling is a fun way of doing this and a great way to get some exercise.