Coastal Wildlife

Cornwall is blessed with having magnificent landscapes and seascapes. The natural landscape is one of the primary attractions that brings people to Cornwall. Cornwall's natural environment is a finite resource. I and it is important to manage it sympathetically and sustainably to help maintain these qualities.

Use the links below to understand more about the environment you can explore when visiting the beach.

When you visit Cornwall's coast and beaches remember that your actions may disturb wildlife. Follow the Cornwall's Marine and Coastal code, which has been developed by a range of organisations in Cornwall. 

If you see an activity that may be disturbing coastal wildlife please contact the Cornwall Wildlife Trust 24 hour hotline 0345 201 2626.

Are you interested in finding our more or want to get involved in the conservation of the Cornish coastline? Visit Cornwall Wildlife Trust's volunteer web page.

Many of the beaches and coves of Cornwall are fringed with wonderful rocky outcrops. These rocky settings provide a habitat for a range of marine plants and animals. 

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Many people see the strandline of a beach as unsightly, due to its modern association with litter and flies. But the strandline is an important part of the beach. It provides a habitat at the bottom of the food web and is also a feature that helps keep the sand on the beach.

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Sometimes marine mammals, such as whales, dolphins and porpoises, can become stranded on the shoreline. It is distressing when this occurs, especially if the creature is still alive. Learn more about the stranding of animals and what you should do if you encounter a live or dead stranding. 

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Cornwall has relatively few sand dunes, making them a scarce and important coastal feature. Sand dunes are important for their wealth of wildlife. They also provide a good natural defence from storm surges and sea level rise. Sand dunes are under pressure from recreational use and many  are becoming damaged. 

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During the summer it is not uncommon to find jellyfish in the sea and stranded on the beach. Jellyfish are unusual and well travelled visitors. A range of different species can be found in UK waters, some of which can have stinging tentacle. 

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Weever fish live on sandy beaches in and around the low tide area. These fish partially bury themselves in the sand and you will know when you find one because their dorsal fin has a series of stinging spines. Find out more about this animal and what to do if you get stung. 

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