Season: March - July


The clean atlantic water along the North Cornish coast make it the perfect place to harvest seaweed. Spring to mid summer is the best time when there is new growth. You want to harvest live seaweed (that has not started decomposing) so it should be attached to a rock. Many seaweeds are perenials so snip off what you need with a pair of scissors rather than pulling the whole thing off the rock. Be mindful that dogs are allowed on some beaches in the winter and early spring, so it's not a bad idea to harvest your seaweed as the tide ebbs so you can be confident you are the first to visit it!

The kelps tend to occur below the shoreline so your best bet to harvest these is with a mask and snorkel. Take a knife so you can cut them rather than tearing them from the rocks.

Edible seaweeds common in North Cornwall

Many of the common names of seaweeds are unglamourous - don't be put off by that. Seaweed is rich in minerals, particularly iodine. The alginate in seaweeds has also been found to reduce the body's fat uptake, thus a good dietary complement for clotted cream and pasties.


Fucus Vesiculosus from wikimedia commons by Stemonitis

The young shoots are nice with ginger in a noodle soup. It also goes nicely with wild garlic and mussels which are all in season in the Spring.


Laminaria digitata from wikimedia commons by Stemonitis

This is one of the kelp species used in japanese cooking to make soup stocks (dashi).

Sea belt

Saccharina latissima from wikimedia commons by Cwmhiraeth

Also known as sugar kelp or marafuto kombu. This is another species used in japanese cooking to make soup stocks (dashi). As some of the names for it suggest, it is the sweetest of the kelp species.

Circular walks which can include seaweed harvesting

Below is a list of walks which include a beach where you can harvest seaweed as part of your walk. You should aim to time the walk so that you reach the beach on the ebbing or low tide as most of the best seaweed is near the low water mark. The page for the walk has a link to the page for the beach which includes information about tide times.


Cooking tips and recipes

  • First wash your seaweed several times to remove all traces of sand and any little shrimpy creatures that might have decided to shelter in it.
  • Soak your seaweed for about 10 minutes in cold freshwater to remove some of the salt.
  • If you are making a japanese-style soup stock using kelp (e.g. sea belt) use near-boiling water but don't actually boil it this changes the flavour.


More information