CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today CLICK HERE

6 top places for diving, crabbing and rockpooling in Devon

PUBLISHED: 16:01 15 August 2018 | UPDATED: 16:04 15 August 2018

Combe Martin (c) Lee, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Combe Martin (c) Lee, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


Devon is as beautiful underwater as it is above. Chrissy Harris highlights the best places to discover our county’s hidden depths… Here are 6 great places for crabbing, rockpooling and diving

1) Wembury beach – and beyond

Wembury in South Devon is a magnet for wildlife and is thought to be one of the UK’s best spots to see marine animals. The beach and surrounding coastline form a Marine Conservation Area (MCA) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), so it’s well protected.

Wembury Marine Centre has interactive displays and staff organise rockpool safaris to showcase exactly how special this area is. Recent rockpool sightings have included a long-spined sea scorpion, squat lobster, a Montagu’s crab and a shanny. Further out to sea, Hilsea Point and also the wreck of former fishing trawler the Glen Strathallen are popular areas with divers. Expect to see cuttlefish and scallops, as well as bib and wrasse.

More info: Wembury Marine Centre | Plymouth Diving Centre | Neil Hope Photography

Wembury Rock Pool

2) Lee Bay and Combe Martin

Lee Bay, between Ilfracombe and Woolacombe in North Devon is a sheltered cove with excellent rockpooling.

Combe Martin has some really deep pools, affording you great views of sponges, volcano barnacles, coral weed and strawberry anemones.

More info: North Devon AONB

Combe Martin


Some more great coastal locations:


3) Lundy Island

The waters around this wildlife haven have been protected since 1971 when the island became a voluntary Marine Nature Reserve. Lundy lies at the mouth of the Bristol Channel where the cool, clear, oceanic waters from the Gulf Stream mix with the clear, warm waters from the Mediterranean.

There are more than 40 dive sites around the island with a mix of wrecks, reefs, drop-offs, and pinnacles. The island has a resident population of approximately 180 Atlantic grey seals and is occasionally visited by leatherback turtles and sunfish. Corals also thrive here because of the unique water conditions. The pink sea fan, as well as cup corals such as sunset, scarlet and gold, Devonshire, Weymouth carpet and southern can be seen.

More info: Landmark Trust | Lundy Diving

Lundy Island 2014 Seals

4) Salcombe-Kingsbridge Estuary

Two tides a day fill this ‘ria’ or drowned river valley with sea water. With no river input, the estuary is almost entirely a marine system and home to some rare and important habitats and species.

Corals, sponge gardens, seagrass jungles with seahorses can be spotted here. Larger animals, including dolphins, seals and basking sharks, have also paid a visit.

More info: South Devon AONB | Salcombe Information

Salcombe Flyby

5) Seaton Hole Beach, West Seaton

Devon Wildlife Trust organises regular guided sessions at this beach on East Devon’s Jurassic Coast. At low tide, the rockpools here are said to be among the best in the area, with plenty of wonders to spot, from snakelocks anemone to brittle starfish.

Head back to nearby Seaton Jurassic afterwards and experience what life is like in a Devon rockpool with a great interactive exhibit.

More info: Seaton Jurassic | Devon Wildlife Trust | East Devon AONB

Low Tide At Seaton Hole

6) Babbacombe, Torquay

Babbacombe is a popular spot for divers because the harbour is so sheltered. Cuttlefish are known to visit the area between April and May.

Grey seals, different species of crabs, sea slugs, tubeworms, tompot blennies, snakelocks anemones and various wrasse species have also been seen.

More info: English Riviera



Follow Devon Life on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Devon Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Devon Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Devon Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Devon Life


The weekend is fast approaching and for those still deciding how to spend their Friday through to Sunday, we pick 5 of the best ways to spend your weekend in Devon

Read more
Friday, December 7, 2018

Devon Life received this heartfelt letter from Mr Michael Thompson, of Torbay, which is felt particularly poignant to share with our website audience at this time of year

Read more
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Bursting with festive inspiration, KATE WILLIAMS seeks out the best presents for a perfect Devon Christmas

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

SU CARROLL breaks bread with charismatic Devon restaurateur Edmond Davari as he embarks on a new venture

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

We’re now into pantomime season where the sounds of hundreds of theatre-goers shouting ‘he’s behind you!’ will be heard at locations all around the county. Here are 12 great pantomimes and Christmas shows for you to try

Read more
Friday, November 30, 2018

We’ve teamed up with Grand Illusions to give one lucky reader the opportunity to win a £250 gift card with the stylish homeware brand

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Devon has had more than its fair share of high achievers over the years but how well do you know our county’s singers, authors, sportspeople, explorers and TV personalities? This is an edited version of a quiz compiled by MARGARET BRECKNELL in the December 2018 issue of Devon Life

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Devon is particularly stunning at this time of year and so we’ve picked out 18 stunning pictures that encapsulate the county during the festive period

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

From cosy pubs galore to winter beach walks, there’s plenty to enjoy in Devon at Christmas. We list 19 reasons you should come visit us this December.

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Devon is a joy to explore with its beautiful beaches, pretty woodland and charming towns and villages. Made even more magical under a blanket of glistening frost, we pick 12 walks to blow away the cobwebs in the county this winter

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

We hooked up with RACHAEL JOWITT, head roaster for leading South West coffee roastery, Voyager Coffee, to hear how the business is developing

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

PHILIP DALLING recalls two Exmoor legends who shared a deep love of the moor and its natural resources, and gained national fame through the media

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

A South Devon walk along a wreck-rich coastline with SIMONE STANBROOK-BYRNE

Read more
Thursday, November 22, 2018

Exeter Chiefs coach Julian Salvi and his playing colleague Moray Low love the South Devon seaside resort of Teignmouth so much they have made a film about it, as MARC ASTLEY explains. Read on to find out how you can win the tickets!

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search