Peer closely into a low-tide pool and the secrets of the sea will be revealed. All around the UK coast, rock pools offer a fascinating insight into life beneath the waves. Ocean ambassador Inka Cresswell and marine expert Dr Ben Holt share some rock pooling tips on how to get started and the creatures you might find.

Meet the experts

Inka Cresswell is a marine biologist with a passion for film, photography and travel. She loves all marine creatures - from slimy sea snails to great white sharks! Inka hopes her wildlife documentaries and vlogs will educate and inspire a new generation of conservationists

Inka Cresswell Ocean Ambassador

Inka Cresswell

Dr Ben Holt runs the Rock Pool Project, which helps people of all ages and backgrounds discover the incredible marine life around our beautiful coast. With a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Ben loves nothing better than poking around in rock pools and getting others involved in digital rock pool surveys, marine diversity safaris and even rock pool bingo.


Dr Ben Holt

Credit: Grace Hunt

Introduction to rock pooling

Join our presenters Inka Cresswell and Dr Ben Holt as they go rock pooling on the Falmouth coast. Discover what shoes to wear and how to pick up a crab.

Safety tips and rock pooling essentials

Find out the best time to go rock pooling and learn about the tides. Inka and Ben also have lots of good advice on how to stay safe and what to take with you.

Rock pooling with kids

Meet Sophie, Pat, Isla and Ellie as they find some fascinating sea creatures and learn how to identify them.

Keep exploring more rock pools

Explore your local rock pools and get involved with the Rock Pool Project. Help us to protect marine animals by picking up plastic and caring for our coasts.

A map showing rock pooling sites throughout the UK can be found here. Thanks to the Capturing Our Coast project for supplying this data.

Top tips

  • Plan your visit for low tide when more rock pools will be exposed
  • Dress appropriately - be prepared for the British weather and remember rocks can be slippery and sharp so thick-soled footwear with good grips is recommended
  • Look for low-down pools close to the sea, which stay full of water for longest
  • Creep up on a rock pool quietly so you don't scare off the wildlife; try not cast a shadow over the water or you might be mistaken for a predator
  • Sit or crouch as still as you can and observe carefully what you can see both in the pool and on the surrounding rocks
  • Gently lower your bucket into the water, then study it closely to see what organisms are in it; a magnifying glass might help
  • Carefully turn over stones to see if there are creatures hiding underneath
  • Look your creatures up on an ID guide and record your findings in a notebook
  • Be careful not to harm any creatures or keep them out of the water for too long

Rock pool inhabitants you might find

Here are some of the most common creatures found around UK shores. Keep your eyes peeled for these fascinating species.


Meet our rock pool film stars

Velvet swimming crab

Its upper shell has a feeling of soft velvet and its blood red eyes and aggressive demeanor have given it the common name “Devil Crab”.

Velvet Swimming Crab Georgie Bull

Velvet swimming crab

Credit: Georgie Bull

Cushion star

Cushion stars are similar to other starfish but have shorter, stubbier arms. They can be found hiding under rocks.


Cushion star

Long spined sea scorpion

A top predator that feasts on crabs and fish with its huge mouth. Master of disguise with great camouflage to blend in perfectly with its surroundings. Unlike its cousin, the Mediterranean scorpion fish, this species is not venomous.


Long spined sea scorpion

Credit: James Lynott

Snakelocks Anenome

These anemones can have up to 200 tentacles! Their tentacles remain out all of the time, they don’t retract them like other anemones.

Snakelocks anemone

Snakelocks anemone

Credit: Fiona Crouch

A big thanks to the UWE MA Film Dept and students Leo Thom, Maia Sherwood, Felipe Rosa and Pedro Furtado for creating this film.