If you are looking for activities to make the most of the coast this summer The Wildlife Trusts’ National Marine Week runs until Sunday 8th August and is full of inspiring ideas.
Discover the delights of our shores and coastal waters with a visit to the seaside to see what weird and wonderful shore dwellers you might find.
Take part in Wildlife Trust events throughout the UK, including guided snorkel trails in Devon, a camping weekend of Shore-nanigans in North Wales, a beach art competition in Lancashire, and lots of rockpool rambles.
You could also celebrate the sea by making a one-minute rockpool or coastal movie and post it on Instagram or Twitter using #NationalMarineWeek for the chance to win a prize!
Here are just some of the events being hosted by Wildlife Trusts during National Marine Week – Note: booking is essential for many events.
North Wales Wildlife Trust, Friday 6th August 2021 – Sunday 8th August. Shore-nanigans, a coastal family camping weekend, packed with activities. Rock-pooling, yoga, guided walks and inspiring talks, snorkelling, music workshops and kayak adventures, storytelling, fire-songs, along with much more. Details here.
Devon Wildlife Trust Saturday 7th August Guided snorkel safari around Wembury Bay. Details here.
Lancashire Wildlife Trust Wednesday 4th August. Beach art competition. Bring a bucket and spade and create a marine-themed sand art sculpture masterpiece, Lytham St Anne’s. Details here. Mud dipping, discover the mysterious creatures living within the mud of the Ribble Estuary, Lytham St Anne’s, Friday 6th August. Details here.
For further information, activity sheets and to find a National Marine Week event near you, visit: www.wildlifetrusts.org/national-marine-week
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 rock pool. In return, the algae get benefits in the form of protection and nutrients.
The tompot blenny is a colourful fish with a punk hair do, and a big character. Rusty brown with an impressive pair of red head tentacles, occasionally spotted in rockpools, more often in rocky crevices in shallow water.
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.
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.
Reefs off Sussex are also home to exotic looking cuckoo wrasse, which have a sex change survival strategy. They all start life as pink-coloured females, changing to males when there is a need; if a top male on a reef dies, often the most senior female will change sex and become the dominant fish, displaying male electric blue head markings.
Main image: Tompot blenny in crevice © Paul Naylor
Great British Marine Animals by Paul Naylor
This book is an eye-opening celebration of the wonderful diversity of animals that live in British seas, and the colourful and fascinating ways they go about their lives. With 500 new photographs, the 4th edition is by far the largest revision of Great British Marine Animals to date.
Great British Marine Animals uses high-quality underwater photographs to both aid identification of a wide range of common animals (excluding marine mammals), and to give an insight into their lives. It is written for anyone who loves the sea, wildlife or exploring our coast.