You don’t have to be a scuba diver to see marine wildlife in Cheshire

Rockpooling children

Rockpooling children - Credit: not Archant

There’s lots of ways to get up close with our sealife.

Harbour porpoises, the smallest cetacean found in UK waters, are often spotted in Liverpool Bay. On a calm day, look out for their small triangular fin breaking the surface. Much more obvious are the sickle shaped fins of bottlenose dolphins, often seen travelling in pods. If you spot two wide triangular fins continually at the surface, you’re looking at a basking shark. High tide at Hilbre Island or New Brighton is your best bet for seeing these ocean giants.

Offshore from West Kirby on the Wirral lies the Hilbre Island group, where some of the region’s best rockpools can be explored at low tide. Contact the Wirral Council Rangers for guidance on crossing times. New Brighton offers a more easily accessible option, with pools around Fort Perch Rock yielding plentiful surprises including some fantastic honeycomb reefs.

And did you know that the largest aggregation of seals in the Irish Sea can be found in the Dee Estuary? Up to 700 grey seals have been seen resting on the estuary’s sandbanks at low tide. Head to Hilbre Island to see them resting at low tide.

Cheshire Wildlife Trust is hosting two guided family walks to Hilbre Island this summer, led by People and Wildlife Officer Nick Rowles. Taking place on Monday July 27 and Monday August 10, the tours cost £5 and can be booked by emailing or calling 01948 820728.

Get involved

Whether you’re looking to get involved in marine conservation, improve your marine species identification skills or just do something fun and different with your family, join the North West Wildlife Trusts for national marine week, from July 25-August 9. The week ends with a free seaside fun day at Thurstaston Beach from 11am-3pm on Sunday August 9 with events for all the family. For more information go to