Beachcombing For Beginners

July 17, 2015

Beachcombing For Beginners

Beachcombing is a wonderful way to spend a summer’s day with friends or family: whether you’re searching for some seaweed for your dinner or a rare fossil!

Here are our top ten things to look out for when combing the seashore.

1. Shells

Look for shells that aren’t broken, and place them in tissue paper or bubble wrap to ensure that they don’t get damaged if you’re allowed to take them home from your local beach.

UK Safari is a great resource for identifying shells, and common finds in the UK include Mussels, Razor Shells, Limpets and Periwinkles.

Beachcombing for Beginners: Shells
2. Animal footprints

There are many different species of wading birds, leaving easily-identifiable footprints when the tide is out. Look out for animal footprints, too, and cross-reference them at Nature Detectives.

3. Fossils

If you’re looking for fossils, Dorset is a fantastic place to start. With some of the most famous Jurassic locations in the world, and home to Lyme Regis, as well as the ammonite kingdom, there’s plenty to see! Find out more with this useful guide.

4. Seaweed

A nutritious addition to any meal and easy to find if you know what you’re looking for, learn how to forage for seaweed properly from The Guardian. 

5. Heart-shaped stones

Smoothed by the sea, heart-shaped stones are a beautiful creation of nature and a lovely way to bring a memento of your day at the beach into your home.

6. Driftwood

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. The best times to look are after high tide or a large storm.

7. Sea glass

A beautiful thing to behold, sea glass is formed when man made glass items such as broken bottles are smoothed and frosted by the waves over around 20-30 years.

8. Sea creatures

Often home to crabs and small fish, rock pools are a great place to start when looking for sea creatures. This handy guide from Wild England will help you identify what you find.

9. A message in a bottle

Did you know a message in a bottle has been reported to have been found 10,000 miles away from where it started? Keep your eye out for messages from strangers from afar, or send your own.

10. Treasure

Who knows what you’ll find!

Beachcombing is most effective just as the tide is going out. As the waters move back, a whole host of new treasures are left behind. Use a ClimeMET CM4305 Tide Clock to make sure you head out at the right time of day. Easy to set up, all you need to do is set your tide clock when it arrives and you’ll no longer need to keep checking the tide times online. Simply glance at your tide clock, and head out to the beach!


In order to beachcomb effectively, you will need to be well prepared! Make sure you take a hat and sun cream to protect you on sunny days, along with plenty of water. You may also want to bring or find a stick to sift through the sand for items buried just under the surface.

Remember, the most sustainable way to enjoy beachcombing is to take only photographs, and leave only footprints!


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