The Suffolk Coast
  • 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

Beaches

Beaches

Whether you’re in search of a great family day out, a birdwatching haven, or trip back in time, the beaches along the Suffolk Coast will provide you with a memorable day out whatever the time of year.

In the winter, Suffolk's beaches take on a whole new persona; with windswept dunes, crashing waves, and bracing winds, they are the perfect place to blow away the cobwebs, stroll hand in hand with your loved one, or enjoy a solitary dog walk.


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Iken Canoe

Iken Canoe

Iken Canoe is a small and friendly canoe, kayak and stand up paddleboard hire centre based on the stunning upper reaches of the Alde estuary between Snape and Aldeburgh, close to the Suffolk coast.

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Dog friendly

Southwold Pier

Southwold Pier

Southwold

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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Southwold Cycle Hire

Southwold Cycle Hire

Southwold

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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Southwold Boating Lake and Tearoom

Southwold Boating Lake and Tearoom

Southwold

So much more than glorious cream teas and freshly baked cakes and pastries, tasty breakfasts, lunches and homemade snacks - Southwold Boating Lake and Tearoom is one of the gems of Southwold.

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Dog friendly

Events

Bawdsey Beachcombing for Beginners Workshop

Bawdsey Beachcombing for Beginners Workshop

Woodbridge |

Spend the morning beachcombing at East Lane beach, Bawdsey on your very own treasure hunt. In the afternoon we will explore your beachcombed treasures and learn the tales they tell.

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Bawdsey Beachcombing & Art Workshop

Bawdsey Beachcombing & Art Workshop

Woodbridge |

Spend the morning beachcombing at East Lane beach, Bawdsey on your very own treasure hunt. In the afternoon, you will be learning how to draw your found treasures with Suffolk artist Carole Massey.

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Pond dipping at RSPB Minsmere Nature Reserve

Pond dipping at RSPB Minsmere Nature Reserve

Saxmundham |

An opportunity to pond dip at RSPB Minsmere nature reserve

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Bringing (another) beach to Dunwich Heath National Trust

Bringing (another) beach to Dunwich Heath National Trust

Dunwich | Sun 29th Jul 2018

A fabulous day full of nature activities for all!

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A tableful of treasure at the South Lookout, Aldeburgh

A tableful of treasure at the South Lookout, Aldeburgh

Aldeburgh | Thu 02nd Aug 2018

Have you ever held a woolly mammoth tooth?

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Beachcombing on Felixstowe Beach

Beachcombing on Felixstowe Beach

Felixstowe |

Join Beach Bonkers to hunt for beachcombed treasure on Felixstowe beach and learn the stories it tells us.

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A tableful of treasures at 'Visit Felixstowe' Beach Hut

A tableful of treasures at 'Visit Felixstowe' Beach Hut

Felixstowe | Sun 02nd Sep 2018

Have you ever held a woolly mammoth's tooth?

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Bringing the Beach to Leiston Library

Bringing the Beach to Leiston Library

Leiston | Tue 07th Aug 2018

There will be a mini shingle beach for the morning in Leiston Library!

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Beachcombing on Sizewell Beach

Beachcombing on Sizewell Beach

Leiston | Tue 07th Aug 2018

Join Beach Bonkers to hunt for beachcombed treasure on Sizewell beach - it's particularly good for 1-2 million year old fossils hidden in the coralline crag.

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Bringing the Beach to Woodbridge Library

Bringing the Beach to Woodbridge Library

Woodbridge | Sat 01st Sep 2018

There will be a mini shingle beach for the afternoon in Woodbridge library!

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Beachcombing on Landguard Beach

Beachcombing on Landguard Beach

Felixstowe | Sat 01st Sep 2018

Join Beach Bonkers to hunt for beachcombed treasure on lovely Landguard beach and learn the stories it tells us.

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where to stay

So Southwold 

So Southwold

Southwold

Southwold is the jewel of Suffolk coast and with something for everyone, it’s the perfect place to retreat from everyday life.

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Dog friendly