The winter is a great time to wrap up warm and head to the beach for a spot of shell collecting. Stormy seas can throw up more interesting shells than the calm summer waters reveal, making it the perfect time to beach comb for fun, or to find some amazing materials for your next craft project.
The best time to head to the beach to search for shells is at low tide. Check the tide times, pack your wellingtons and rubber gloves (if you need them) and head to the shore. If the sea hasn’t thrown up much to capture your imagination, try wading in just a short distance and peer below the tide. This can often be an area that others have yet to look, and can be ripe for the picking with some beautiful specimens to be found.
If you’re heading to a popular beach – and there are many even in the winter months – it can also be a good idea to head out in the morning. Again, browse the tide times of your target beach to make sure you hit it at the right time. Getting there early will give you the best chance of exploring the fresh pickings that the sea has thrown up that day. The beauty of beach combing, whether for shells or other treasures, is that every day is different. In fact, you could return twice a day and still find a completely new area to explore.
Children and adults alike love the adventure of a shell hunt, and with a multitude of other delights on offer, you never know what you’re going to find; beaches have a tendency to throw up all sorts of treasures including fossilised ammonites and rubies! There are plenty of online guides to help you identify what you find, and a multitude of inspiring ideas to help you transform your discoveries into gifts and keepsakes. One of the more common ideas is to create a memory jar. Pick up clear glass bowls and jars and fill them with sand and the shells, marking the finished item with the date and location of your discovery.
This is our list of arguably the top 10 best beach combing spots across the UK:
1) Barricane Beach – Devon
2) Cardigan Bay – Wales
3) Herne Bay – Kent
4) Lunan Bay – Scotland
5) Ruby Bay – Scotland
6) The Amber Coast – Suffolk
7) The Jurrasic Coast – Dorset
8) Tower Beach – London
9) Whitby and Runswick Bay – Yorkshire
10) White Park Bay – Northern Ireland