How and where to go beachcombing

Beachcombing in Pembrokeshire

Beachcombing is a brilliant way to spend a family day out - searching the shoreline, rummaging the rocks and scrutinising the sands for hidden treasures!

Beachcombing is simply the art of hunting the coastline for things of value, interest or usefulness.

But you don’t need a metal detector to be a beachcomber - just a healthy thirst for adventure and the natural curiosity of a child.

Collect pretty shells, fascinating fossils and creepy creatures - in many ways it’s a fancy word for treasure hunting at the beach with the kids!

Though you can beachcomb anytime of year the autumn is particularly good - as the beaches are a little quieter, while the stormier weather out in the ocean will mean a few more treasures will wash up.

What to look for

Shells

Shells

When you find a perfect unbroken shell - pop it in tissue paper to stop it getting damaged. When you return from your trip, check sites like UK Safari to identify what your shell is.

Fossils

Fossil hunting is particularly good in Abereiddi, near the famous Blue Lagoon in Pembrokeshire, where there are lots of graptolite fossils. These are the remains of tiny animals that lived in the sea from 470 million years ago, found in among the pebbles at Abereiddi’s beach. They look like tiny hacksaw blades or tuning forks.

Seaweed

Seaweed might look a bit slimy and smell a bit but its often home to an abundance of wildlife. See how many colours you can find - red, brown and green are the most common.

Minibeasts

Rocks at the beach

In amongst the seaweed and the rock pools there will be plenty of things to turn over - often with minibeasts lurking underneath. Even plastic litter can sometimes provide a home for these tiny creatures. They in turn provide food for lots of birds, which is why you often see birds like turnstone and ringed plover on the strandline. See more in our full guide to exploring rockpools in Pembrokeshire.

Treasure

Coins at the beach

Keep an eye out for coins, jewellery and more - you’ll be amazed what gets left behind at the beach over the years!

Driftwood

Driftwood at the beach

Driftwood can provide food and shelter for many species of birds and fish, and can be dried out to use for craft or in your garden.

Sea glass

Sea glass is formed when items such as broken bottles are smoothed and frosted by the waves over decades - leaving them beautifully finished. It’s no excuse for throwing bottles in the sea though!

A message in a bottle

Messages in bottles are often found thousands of miles from where they started - keep an eye out or send your own! 

What to bring

• Bring some layers this time of year as the beach is likely to be a bit cooler. A jacket with lots of pockets to store your finds is advisable!

• Wear some shoes with a decent grip if you’re planning on clambering around the rockpools.

• If it’s sunny - always wear sunscreen. Even the British September sun will burn you.

• It’s always a good idea to bring a bucket (a clear one, so you can see your finds) but leave your net at home! Use your hands instead so you don’t damage the wildlife.

• Most of what you find will probably stay at the beach - so take a camera to cherish the memories with.

• Make sure you know the tides and take a watch so you’re not forced into a hasty retreat

When to go

Girl at the beach with a bucket and spade beachcombing

The best time to go beachcombing is 2-3 hours prior to low tide or an hour or so after. Many intertidal animals live under the water in the sand during high tide, but come out to play (and seek out food) during low tide. 

Where to go

Broad Haven beach

Pembrokeshire’s big sandy beaches or little coves full of rock pools are perfect for beachcombing.

For rockpools - try Broadhaven, Little Haven or Saundersfoot and for fossil hunting you can’t beat Abereiddi. Build in a trip to the unforgettable Blue Lagoon while you’re at it. 

Be careful

Sadly, the beach isn’t always clean - so watch out for obviously dangerous items - fish hooks and metal in particular. If you’re planning on exploring rocks, always err on the side of caution. Be adventurous - but take care!

Leave it be.

If you turn a rock over, put it back - it’s part of an ecosystem. Rocks protect creatures from predators but also the sun.

Categories:Pembrokeshire, Beaches, Autumn

Tags:Wales

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