Searching for seaweed on Priory Bay at St. Helens

On a cold wet and windy day in February my wife, daughter and I went to one of our favourite beaches on the Island, Priory Bay, the beach just passed the old church at Node’s Point in St Helens.

The reason we ventured out on such a bleak day was our daughter’s sudden urge to put down the iPad and get outside because she was missing rock-pooling. She had spent the morning in the house preparing, by looking at beach-spotter books and finding buckets and nets and a little pad and pencil to record her finds.

When we got out onto the beach it was mostly empty, save for a few dog walkers. The wind was bitter and I was glad I had brought my hat and gloves. My wife and I watched our daughter leap from rock to rock, stopping every so often to bend down and examine a pool of water. She has got eyes like a hawk and soon spotted prawns, little fish and several wonder sea anemones. We do usually spot plenty of crabs but on that cold day they must have all been buried deep under the sand or out at sea.

A species that was in abundance was seaweed and we soon found that it wasn’t all the same, as it can first appear from a distance. When we got up close to the seaweed we were amazed at how beautiful it looked in all its green and shiny and waxy fashion.

On that day we think (we are not experts, but from using a spotter book) we spotted bladderwrack, channelled wrack, knotted wrack, serrated wrack and kelp!

If you want a free guide to spotting seaweed there’s a great one for free online made by the Natural History Museum here:

It showed us that no matter what the time of year, no matter what the weather, there is always something interesting to spot on an Isle of Wight beach. Happy seaweed spotting!

Philip Bell Author Photo by Chris Cowley

27 March 2017

By Philip Bell in The locals' blogs