Rockpooling is great fun for all the family and Falmouth offers many places providing pools full of marine life at any time of the year. Crabs, fish, prawns, shrimps, starfish, sea anemones, squat lobsters and sea squirts are just some of the fascinating creatures waiting to be discovered. And judging by our observations it’s not certain who enjoys this pastime the most, parents or children! Falmouth’s beaches are generally very safe but please be aware of sea conditions and consult tide timetables. All three of Falmouth’s beaches offer great rockpooling.

Falmouth Rock Pool Locations

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Castle Beach rockpooling
Common Starfish

Castle Beach Rock Pools

Castle beach provides some of the best pools because of the extensive rocks which are uncovered within a short time of the tide starting to ebb. Access is off Cliff Road where there is normally lots of free roadside parking. For many holiday makers some of Falmouth’s finest hotels and guesthouses are within a few minutes walk of this beach. For those who may find the steps and sloping paved paths leading down to the beach too demanding then Gyllngvase beach is close by.

Click the link for the full Castle beach guide.

Gyllyngvase rock pools
Anemone in a rock pool

Gyllyngvase Beach Rock Pools

Gyllyngvase beach is probably best known for its fabulous sand but it is bordered on either side by rocky reefs. The most easily accessible rock pools are to the south, extending towards Swanpool. Here an extensive rocky reef with lots of shallow crystal clear rock pools is soon exposed during an ebbing tide. At the top of the beach amongst the sand and shingle a huge variety of shells may be found. The beach is easily accessible and this combined with the sand and rock pools make it a superb beach for all the family.

Click the link for the full Gyllyngvase beach guide.

Swanpool beach
Common Blenny

Swanpool Beach Rock Pools

The sand and shingly beach at Swanpool may be better known for its fabulous family swimming and water activities than rock pools but, at low water, on either side of the bay, there are rocky areas that support a diverse variety of sea creatures. The rocks here are often larger than on the other Falmouth beaches and the deep pools harbour lots of marine life. However, it is only on low tides that easy access to the pools from the beach is possible and there is a certain amount of clambering around over seaweeds and across rocks and so is better suited to the more adventurous.

Click the link for the full Swanpool beach guide.

Prince of Wales pier in Falmouth harbour
Sea Scorpion

Fal Estuary Rock Pools

At low tide within the sheltered estuary a search amongst the weed and under small rocks will produce lots of life not so commonly found along the sea shore such as eels and corkwing wrasse. A sweep around the base of piers and groins with a net will often catch a number of different fish species as well as prawns. As is so often the case with rockpooling the best tides are the Spring tides where the water goes out furthest and exposes pools and rocks that are only revealed on a few occasions each year. However, in season, parking and access to the estuary foreshore is limited in Falmouth and the jetties and piers are busy with boats and holidaymakers. Instead of venturing onto the foreshore, many young families find quieter spots on the quays and have great fun hauling up shore crabs on hand lines.

Safety Notice and Code of Good Conduct

For safety and the best rock pooling always check tide timetables for the low tides and be aware of incoming tides and surf conditions. The beaches are generally very safe but care should always be taken.

Rockpooling code of conduct: please return rocks and species to the place where you found them.

Links to other parts of the Illustrated Guide to Falmouth Wildlife