Rockpooling at West Runton, photo by Matthew Roberts

Discover seaside soap operas during National Marine Week

Friday 25 June, 2021

Staycations mean more of us are set to discover the delights of our shores and coastal waters, as we visit the seaside for a summer break.

The Wildlife Trusts’ National Marine Week - Saturday 24 July – Sunday 8 August - is celebrating the intriguing, weird and wonderful lives of marine wildlife. They are asking people to celebrate our blue planet by making a one-minute rockpool or coastal movie and posting it on Instagram or Twitter using #NationalMarineWeek; for the chance to be featured by The Wildlife Trusts on social media and win a prize. Film a fish or linger on a limpet – and post your minute movie to celebrate the sea!

Make the most of the coast with Norfolk Wildlife Trust family events, including Coastal Creations and beach wildlife explorer events at NWT Holme Dunes; and Plankton Parties and crafts at NWT Cley Marshes.

Head of Engagement at Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Carrie Bewick, said: “Our seas are home to over half of all our wildlife. They provide oxygen for every other breath you take and food for us to eat, which is why it is so important that more and better protection is given to the waters around our shores and they are managed in a sustainable way. The coast is also a great place to exercise, relax and rejuvenate and you never know what wildlife you might spot while you are there. National Marine Week is a chance to celebrate our amazing seas, and I’d encourage people to make the most of the coast and enjoy events hosted by Norfolk Wildlife Trust.”  


•    Rockpools: visit West Runton in Norfolk

Battered by waves then exposed as the tide retreats, rock pools are tough places to live. The extraordinary snakelocks anemone harnesses solar power through symbiotic algae, which live in its bright green stinging tentacles. The algae turn sunlight into energy for the anemone, which is why snakelocks live in the sunniest spots in the pool. In return, the algae get benefits in the form of protection and nutrients. 

With rockpool space at a premium, the seemingly serene beadlet anemone defends its place by deploying a ring of bright blue beads full of stinging cells and battling against opponents.  

Clamped tight until the tides cover them, cone shelled limpets zigzag around, feeding on algae scraped off rocks with  their tongue, one of the world’s strongest biological structures! Returning to their home patch, limpets sometimes clash shells; trying to tip each other over or prise their opponent from a rock. No one’s quite sure why, it could be territory or feeding disputes, but one thing’s for sure they’re not the motionless shells they appear to be.  


•    Chalk reefs

Chalk reefs are the UK’s equivalent of the Great Barrier Reef, and support a huge diversity of marine life, from starfish and sponges, to shoals of fish. Marine chalk is a globally rare habitat, 75% of all chalk reefs in Europe are found off the South coast; many of them protected by Marine Conservation Zones.

Holes in the chalk are the work of piddocks, also known as angel wings because of the shape of their long oval shell, which has very sharp teeth at one end to burrow into the soft rock. At night, bioluminescence means the edge of the shell glows blue-green.

Underwater chalk cliffs are home to sponges and shelter catsharks, lobsters, and spider crabs. Spider crabs pick seaweed and sponge to decorate and camouflage themselves, using their claws to fix the ‘decoration’ onto hook- like hairs between spines on their shells. 

North Norfolk’s chalk reef, with boulders, stacks and arches, is 20 miles long. It supports 350 species; from red seaweeds to shoals of silvery scad or horse mackerel. Ten years ago, during a National Marine Week survey, divers found a distinctive purple sponge which hadn’t been seen before, later identified as new to science! This year children in Norfolk were asked to name the sponge, it’s now called the Parpal Dumplin, because it’s purple and looks like a dumpling!
Share this

Top news stories

2021-08-30 New Chief Executive of Norfolk New Chief Executive of Norfolk Wildlife Trust announced
Monday 30 August, 2021
The trustees of Norfolk Wildlife Trust are delighted to announce the appointment of Eliot Lyne as the new Chief Execu...
2021-08-19  Sunflowers power £2 million f  Sunflowers power £2 million for nature’s recovery
Thursday 19 August, 2021
Wildlife friendly farm, which grows wild bird seed, and 100 acres of sunflowers, celebrates raising £2 million ...
2021-07-29 Nearly quarter of a million po Nearly quarter of a million pounds for South Norfolk conservation from government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund
Thursday 29 July, 2021
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has been awarded a grant of £244,400 for an innovative landscape-scale conservation proj...
2021-07-27 Historic reintroduction revers Historic reintroduction reverses extinction of England’s rarest frog
Tuesday 27 July, 2021
The northern pool frog, England’s rarest amphibian, has been successfully reintroduced to Thompson Common in No...
2021-07-15 Rail station wildlife gardens Rail station wildlife gardens to receive stamp of approval from NWT
Thursday 15 July, 2021
Community efforts to boost nature at rail stations are to be rewarded with an official accreditation from Norfolk Wil...
2021-07-08 Commons for the future? Commons for the future?
Thursday 08 July, 2021
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has this week published a study which considers the strengths and weaknesses of the potential ...
2021-06-25 Discover seaside soap operas d Discover seaside soap operas during National Marine Week
Friday 25 June, 2021
Staycations mean more of us are set to discover the delights of our shores and coastal waters, as we visit the seasid...
2021-06-15 More than £600k raised to expa More than £600k raised to expand Brecks nature reserve
Tuesday 15 June, 2021
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has reached its fundraising target to expand one of the Brecks’ most important nature re...
2021-06-07 Go wild for beetles this summe Go wild for beetles this summer
Monday 07 June, 2021
Have you seen a two-spot bishy barnabee, a scorpion impersonator or a male beetle with swollen hind legs? This summer...
2021-05-27 30 Days Wild – the UK’s bigges 30 Days Wild – the UK’s biggest nature challenge – reveals people’s favourite ‘random acts of wildness’
Thursday 27 May, 2021
On the eve of the UK’s most popular nature challenge, 30 Days Wild, a survey of last year’s participants ...
2021-05-17 Covid update on re-opening Covid update on re-opening
Monday 17 May, 2021
In light of the Government’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown, Norfolk Wildlife Trust has today reopened m...
2021-05-17 Future and Form - 21- 30 May S Future and Form - 21- 30 May Shifting Lines
Monday 17 May, 2021
The shifting nature of the North Norfolk coast is evoked through the subtle choreography of voice, natural sounds, vi...