If there’s one thing that South Devon does best, it’s beaches. The region boasts a wonderful array of secluded, romantic coves and endless sandy stretches. Regardless of your age, no trip to the seaside would be complete without some time spent delving into rockpools and searching for mysterious sea creatures. Kids (and grown-ups!) can spend hours looking for crabs, starfish, shrimp and other animals in this magical underwater world. 

Rockpooling in South Devon is an extremely popular seaside activity and is a great way for the little ones to learn about marine life in a fun and engaging way. Here’s just a couple of tips before heading out to the beach to try this fun pastime.  

  • Make sure you take a bucket and net so that you can find and analyse all sorts of great wildlife. It’s far more eco-conscious than re-buying plastic items that you already have at home. Even better, don’t use either and just use your eyes to spot them! 

  • If you do use a bucket and net, be sure to put all animals back where you found them and try not to disturb the natural environment.  

  • Try not to use your hands to pick up wildlife. It might be tempting but some creatures will have sharp spines, teeth or stings.  

  • Wear good gripping shoes as the rocks and seaweed can be very slippery.  

  • Check tide times! The best time to go rockpooling is when the tide is midway and still going out. You don’t want to be exploring and suddenly have to grab your bits when you realise the tide is coming in quickly.   

  • Find out more about taking care of the beach and shoreline visit the Devon Wildlife Trust website here and learn about the 'Seashore Code'. 

There are plenty of beaches that you can enjoy rockpooling in South Devon, read on to find out our top ten and a little more about them. 

Wembury Beach, Near Plymouth 

A popular sandy beach with dramatic coastline in either direction near Plymouth, Wembury Beach is perfect for a family visit. The beach is renowned for its myriad of rockpools and is often a hotspot for the activity with tourists and locals. Gorgeous coastal walks can also be accessed around the area. Plus, there’s a number of other habitats to spot wildlife around the beach.  

Jacobs Ladder Beach, Sidmouth 

Jacobs Ladder Beach is located in Sidmouth and is immediately recognisable from the white staircase that leads up to Connaught Gardens. It’s one of two beaches in Sidmouth, the other being Sidmouth Town Beach. Jacobs Ladder Beach itself is pebbled and houses some interesting rockpools, particularly at the western end with a café and facilities near the gardens. 

Hope Cove Beach, Near Salcombe/Kingsbridge 

Comprising of two beautiful, sheltered beaches, Hope Cove Beach near Salcombe and Kingsbridge combines natural beauty with practicality. Sandy expanses for little ones to play with staggering views and of course a rockpool or two! Local cafés/pubs and a shop are also available nearby within the unique fishing village. 

Goodrington Sands, Paignton 

Goodrington Sands is a long stretch of fine sand on the English Riviera (Torbay). A popular beach among families, rockpools can be found at one end of the beach and also in the mid-section when the tide is out. Once you’re finished at the beach why not visit the other great facilities and activities nearby for children to enjoy, such as go karts, crazy golf, swan boats and a waterpark (Splashdown).  

Beer Beach, Beer 

Just to the west of Seaton  is a small fishing village named . The village is home to a beautifully picturesque, shingle beach. Beer Beach is surrounded by jaw-dropping limestone cliffs and has a wealth of rockpools for little ones to explore to their hearts content. A beach-side café is located here as well as cafes, pubs and shops in the village.Beer. The village  is home to a beautifully picturesque, shingle beach. Beer Beach is surrounded by jaw-dropping limestone cliffs and has a wealth of rockpools for little ones to explore to their hearts content. A beach-side café is located here as well as cafées, pubs and shops in the village. 

Bantham Beach, Near Modbury 

Situated within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Bantham Beach is loved by surfers, families and locals for its vast expanse of sand, good surf and shallow rockpools. This is an ideal beach for a day out that will occupy the whole family. Bigbury Bay and Burgh Island are also a stone’s throw away from Bantham, two interesting locations which are definitely worth a visit. We’d certainly recommend catching the sea-tractor for an unforgettable experience! 

Ness Cove Beach, Shaldon 

Accessed by an original Smugglers tunnel, Ness Cove Beach is a hidden gem in Shaldon  which offers the perfect setting for a day at the beach. Children will be kept entertained by the eerie tunnel and secluded rockpools for them to hunt for sea creatures. The beach is completely enclosed by cliffs so you needn’t worry about excitable little ones venturing too far, making it the perfect family spot. 

Broadsands Beach, Paignton 

Broadsands Beach is in Paignton, part of the English Riviera. The fine red sand coupled with rows of beach huts and a lush green space for children to play makes this beach popular with locals and tourists alike. The shallows are great for paddling and one end of the beach provides a group of rockpools. Situated on the beach are two eateries and toilets. Plus you can access the stunning inlet that is Elberry Cove.   

Sandy Bay, Exmouth 

Perfect for families, Sandy Bay is a gorgeous, privately owned, sandy beach that is half a mile long and can be found in Exmouth. Facilities are available and rockpools along the shore offer hours of entertainment as little ones search for crabs and other animals. Exmouth is an excellent location for a family getaway as it boasts plenty of great attractions and kid-friendly activities.  

So, next time you head for the beach, don’t forget your net and bucket! You’re sure to find a wide range of exciting wildlife when you go rockpooling in South Devon. Tag us in your photos on Instagram  too using  #southdevon – we may even share it our page!

Happy rockpooling!




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