What to spot on a British rocky shore

Take a trip to the coast and hunt for these species using our rocky shore guide

Boy rockpooling, kneeling on rocks, Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset, England, february

1) Sponges 


The hedgehog sponge is commonly found on the south and west coast, on rocks that are still under shallow water at low tide.
Up to 10cm (4in) wide.

2) Turnstone

Often to be seen fluttering over seaweed-covered rocks and patrolling seawalls and jetties, turning stones and seaweed in search of food. 

3) Shanny

Britain’s most common blenny is often found in rockpools or under rocks on the shore line, and varies in colour from grey to brown. Up to 13cm (5in) long. 

4) Beadlet anemone

Look out for their familiar red or green blobby bodies on rocks at low tide. These unfurl to reveal waving tentacles when the tide comes in.

5) Velvet swimming crab  

With a smooth, velvety shell up to 6cm (2¼in) wide, these distinctive crabs hide in crevices on sheltered rocky shores. Watch out – they have a nasty nip. 

6) Hermit Crab

Commonly found in rockpools, hermit crabs make their home in periwinkle shells, upsizing
to whelk shells as their soft bodies grow up to 15mm (½in) long. 

7) Starfish 

Look out for the common starfish near mussels, one of their favourite foods (which they eat whole), or washed up on the beach after a storm.  


Image credits: Naturepl.com, Alamy, FLPA