• Crabbing at Bawdsey on the Suffolk Coast

Rock Pools and Crabbing on The Suffolk Coast

The Suffolk coastline is perfect for old fashioned family fun, from dabbling in rock pools to trying your hand at a spot of crabbing!

We’ve put together this handy guide to crabbing and rock pooling along the Suffolk Coast. So, pack some lunch, take plenty of water and grab a bucket…

Where to Go and What to Look For

Whether an experienced pro or a first timer, rock pooling is something any age can get involved with and enjoy and summer is the ideal time to head over to the beautiful beaches boasted by our coastline. If you have a little patience and visit at low tide and calmish waters, you are almost certain to discover a beautiful teeming haven of fish, crabs, anemones and other crustaceans.

Lowestoft Beach - Groynes - (c) Ian Dinmore

Head to the golden sands at Lowestoft at low tide and you will often find pools left by the departing sea, both along the sea shore and around the groynes; in fact, as the sea heads out, the groynes are a great place to base yourself and your bucket. The key is to look in fairly sheltered places, Piers and pontoons and the underside of hanging boulders can also provide rich pickings. 

There's lots of flotsam and jetsam washed up on the shores of Bawdsey, and the wooden groyne posts are often the habitat for many a crab. Don’t be afraid to get your hands slimy by picking across the seaweed as a lot of creatures will hide underneath to have a snooze! Look out for bubbling airholes coming out of the sand as this may indicate a crab who has burrowed down – you can scoop him out gently. Another reason to be prepared to get your hands wet and a bit slimy is because it’s much better for the critters to pick them up by hand (albeit very carefully) than using a net which could cause harm to some of these delicate creatures.

Bawdsey Quay (c) Gill Moon Photography

Here you could easily be fortunate enough to find starfish (possibly hidden under rocks), winkles, common prawn and anemones. If the tide is coming in, work your way inland along with it – if you see any fish, they may well be gobys, blennys or butterfish.

What about the crabs, I hear you ask… For many, crabbing is the very essence of the perfect summer pursuit – a simple and cheap outdoor pleasure popular with both locals and visitors alike. In fact, crabbing is such a traditionally popular Suffolk pastime that until a few years ago, The British Open Crabbing Championships were held in the village of Walberswick. For optimum crabbing, find a spot in the harbour or hop across the water on the Walberswick Ferry and perch on the harbour wall at Southwold for an authentic Suffolk summer experience!

Walberswick Crabbing

What You Will Need 

Crabbing and rock pooling is a fun and cost-effective activity, with only a few things required:

  • Some string or handline
  • A bucket (If you are putting them in a bucket, try and make it a plastic one. In this heat, metal buckets will very quickly become too hot for these creatures to stay in for long.
  • A small fishing net,
  • An old washing tablet bag and the bait – crabs are partial to fish and bacon.

Before you begin crabbing, fill the bucket with seawater, seaweed and some pebbles - this helps mimic a crab's natural environment. Only use your bucket to closer inspect anything you find, don’t keep any crabs or sealife in there for too long and try and return anything near to where you found it.

Also, if you’re going with children, keep a close watch on them and try and find some local advice about how fast the tide will return – it’s very easy to get caught with a rapidly rising tide or strong currents so think safety at all times!

So what are you waiting for? Head to the coast and get crabbing!

Things to see and do

Southwold Pier

Southwold Pier


Southwold is a popular destination for the many visitors to the East Coast and its most prominent attraction, the pier, hosts a wide range of things to see and do.

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Free wifi Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible

Southwold Cycle Hire

Southwold Cycle Hire


Pick up bikes from the beachside hut in Southwold or get cycles delivered to you!

Unlike a larger town, there aren’t any major roads in Southwold, meaning it’s a far safer environment for anyone on two wheels. Plus it only takes a few minutes pedalling in any direction before you are taking in scenic views, whether it’s a breathtaking coastal panorama or Suffolk’s rural landscape.

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Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible