Rockpooling at West Runton

Blog post by Isabelle Mudge on 28 Sep, 2020
West Runton beach has to be one of my favourite places to explore wildlife. It is undoubtedly a very special place; famous not only for its incredible fossils finds (e.g. the West Runton mammoth), it is also a fantastic place to discover what wildlife lives in our seas today.

Just 200m off the coast lies the nationally and internationally important chalk reef. Covering an area of 321km², it is one of the largest of its kind in Europe. The reef provides valuable habitat for a wealth of marine life, both common and rare. Indeed in 2016 a new species of sea sponge was discovered here – the very aptly named ‘purple sponge’. Due to its significance to marine life, it has been given Marine Conservation Zone status – a designation, which ensures that its wildlife and habitats are recognised and protected for the future.

Not only this, but West Runton beach is one of very few sites in Norfolk where rockpools and associated species of wildlife, can be found. At low tide the flint rockpools and their residents are exposed, giving visitors a chance to glimpse some of the amazing creatures living in our seas, before they are once again enveloped by the waves.

Wildlife typically spotted in West Runton’s rockpools include anemones, several species of crabs, prawns, and winkles, as well as less common finds, such as squat lobsters. Alongside these creatures there is also a wondrous array of colourful seaweeds.

Responsible rockpooling panel

Responsible rockpooling panel

The rockpool habitat is a hostile place to live – wildlife must cope with the constant ebb and flow of the tide, and the resulting changes in water depth and temperature this inevitably causes. They must also deal with exposure to the elements and of course to predators. Rockpool inhabitants are therefore well-adapted to their harsh environment, be it through impeccable camouflage, or ingenious ways of preventing dessication (drying out). Every creature or plant found is therefore an incredible example of nature’s ability to prevail against all obstacles. It is therefore really important to treat all wildlife found with care.

Rockpooling is a fantastic, hands-on way to learn and be inspired about our incredible marine wildlife, but it’s important to rockpool responsibly, so as to keep both wildlife and rockpoolers safe. The new “responsible Rockpooling” interpretation panel at West Runton provides visitors with information on the key species found in the rockpools and tips on how best to locate them. So why not head to West Runton beach at low tide in the next few weeks and see what wonderful wildlife you can find whilst doing some responsible rockpooling?
 
Isabelle Mudge is NWT's Education Officer
Share this

Latest Blog Posts

Thwaite Common bird box project Thwaite Common bird box pro...
by John Snape on 30 Nov, 2020
Jewels of the autumn Jewels of the autumn
by Ian Senior on 20 Nov, 2020
Walking again at Thorpe Marshes Walking again at Thorpe Mar...
by Chris Durdin on 06 Nov, 2020
Living with spiders Living with spiders
by Norfolk Wildlife Trust on 24 Oct, 2020
In praise of the humble briar In praise of the humble briar
by Robert Morgan on 30 Sep, 2020
The secret world of fungi The secret world of fungi
by Norfolk Wildlife Trust on 18 Sep, 2020
White herons: A pleasure to see – a warning to heed White herons: A pleasure to...
by Robert Morgan on 17 Sep, 2020
Norwich Nature Notes – August Norwich Nature Notes – August
by Roger and Jenny Jones on 14 Sep, 2020
Help for hogs Help for hogs
by Helen Baczkowska on 31 Aug, 2020
The magic of Thompson Common The magic of Thompson Common
by Barry Madden on 29 Aug, 2020
The Great British Snake Off The Great British Snake Off
by Tom Hibbert on 24 Aug, 2020
Grazing goats Grazing goats
by Robert Morgan on 17 Aug, 2020
Norwich Nature Notes – July Norwich Nature Notes – July
by Roger and Jenny Jones on 04 Aug, 2020
Summer in the meadows Summer in the meadows
by Helen Baczkowska on 28 Jul, 2020
Search for the emperor Search for the emperor
by Barry Madden on 07 Jul, 2020
Corncrake at Thorpe Marshes Corncrake at Thorpe Marshes
by Chris Durdin on 29 Jun, 2020
Norwich Nature Notes – June Norwich Nature Notes – June
by Roger and Jenny Jones and Jon Shutes on 23 Jun, 2020
Blyth's reed warbler Blyth's reed warbler
by NWT on 12 Jun, 2020
Norwich Nature Notes – May Norwich Nature Notes – May
by Roger and Jenny Jones on 21 May, 2020
Thorpe Marshes: A refuge in lockdown Thorpe Marshes: A refuge in...
by Chris Durdin on 06 May, 2020
Random Acts of Wildness Random Acts of Wildness
by Helen Baczkowska on 04 May, 2020
Deciphering the dawn chorus Deciphering the dawn chorus
by Nick Acheson on 30 Apr, 2020
Norwich Nature Notes Norwich Nature Notes
by Roger and Jenny Jones on 21 Apr, 2020
Incredible insects Incredible insects
by Tom Hibbert on 08 Apr, 2020