Stay safe

  • Check tide times and the weather forecast before your visit
  • Keep away from the base of the cliffs and don’t climb them
  • Take and wear suitable clothing – be careful in strong sunshine, but remember it can also be windier and cooler on the beach
  • Beware of slippery, weed-covered rocks, soft sand and any man-made objects that are washed up or lodged in the beach
  • Read any signs regarding safety, byelaws etc and follow the advice

Respect wildlife, the environment and other people

  • Leave everything as you find it
  • Respect coastal wildlife – avoid disturbance to coastal birds and other wildlife by both people and dogs, don’t take living plants or animals away
  • Take your rubbish home and recycle or dispose of it safely. Litter can easily end up in the sea and cause problems for marine wildlife
  • Respect the rights of other users – avoid blocking public access or rights of way and use official car parks where possible


  • Wear shoes with soles that protect your feet from sharp rocks and give grip on slippery rocks and seaweeds
  • Show respect for sea shore creatures – handle them gently and as little as possible
  • But it’s better to use your hands to catch some creatures instead of nets – crabs especially can lose their legs and claws if they get tangled in nets
  • Only keep creatures in a bucket for a short time, cover them with plenty of cool water and release them before too long. Always put them back where you found them
  • If you collect shells, check that they are empty before taking them home
  • Watch carefully and quietly – many seashore creatures are hard to spot and may be scared off by splashing feet
  • Take care to avoid trampling delicate creatures. If you turn over a rock, put it back carefully in its original position to avoid crushing any animals or exposing them to the sun and wind

What you might find on the rocky shore...

For more information on things you might find, see
the Marine Conservations Society’s seashore safari guide, or
the Essex Wildlife Trust’s seashore guide.
Or you can find guidebooks in bookshops.

Locations for beach exploration

Beaches where the chalk reef can be seen at low water, especially on spring tides (around new and full moon): 

(Exposed parts of the reef involve a 15 minute walk from parking areas.)

One area of chalk reef can be found west of the lifeboat station.
This is most easily accessed from The Esplanade, where there is some free parking, also a public RNLI car park, public toilets, and cafes.
Walk left along the promenade to the lifeboat station after descending through the arch – the reef starts about 250 metres beyond the lifeboat station.

Parts of the reef are also exposed east of the town from the end of the promenade, running to West Runton. The nearest car park is East Cliff car park on Vista Court, off Cliff Road. Go down to the promenade and then left past the beach huts for about 800 metres to the end of the concrete walkway to find the reef.

Probably the best place for rock-pooling on the reef, easily accessible and popular.

There is a public pay and display car park at the end of Water Lane (no parking on the road), as well as public toilets and a shop/café. There is also a small, free village car park off the coast road, just east of Water Lane, 10 minutes’ walk from the beach.

Extensive areas of reef, consisting of chalk, cobbles and shallow pools are obvious, mainly west (left) of the beach access. Access to the beach by a short walk down a steep ramp.

There is a public pay-and display car park with public toilets at the end of Beach Rd, and a shop nearby on the coast road. Access to the beach by a short walk down a steep ramp.

The beach here is mainly sandy, but there are limited areas of reef consisting mainly of cobbles with a little ‘crag’ (an orangey-brown rock formed of cemented pebbles)