Another activity I’ve not yet tried with my kids is crabbing, and Walberswick estuary in Suffolk is one of the best places to do it, so off we went for day 2 of our 30 Days Wild challenge. Walberswick is the capital of crabs – the British Open Crabbing Champs are held here every year, so it’s a serious pastime for some.
Walberswick is an idyllic village at the end of a dead end road off the A12. It’s a celebrity haven too with Richard Curtis and Emma Freud having a home here as well as Keira Knightley (I think, don’t quote me – I’m no pap!) and you can see why. It’s picture perfect, and feels like a safe haven away from the rest of the world. The village is pretty buzzy, with two great pubs right by the coast, a shop, deli, two cafes and sweet playground set on the village green. The beach is shingly golden sand, set behind shallow dunes and by a line of black beach huts, and the estuary is filled with folk looking for crabs. You can even hop on a rowing boat ferry for a two minute journey across to the popular seaside town of Southwold if you want more shops.
To go crabbing you need bait (usually bacon rind) attached to a weighted line, a net, bucket half filled with seawater, bit of seaweed and stones; and some patience. Pick a spot and throw your bait and line in then wait for the crabs to find it. Slowly pull up your line, catch your crab in your net then plop into the bucket to inspect. If you are brave you can pick them up safely with thumb and fingers either side of their body (we weren’t!). Return crabs slowly into the water once you’ve taken a look. Don’t leave the crabs in for too long, don’t overcrowd your bucket and don’t leave them in the heat, and you’ll have some happy crabs.
Crabbing was so popular with my boys that we had to return not twice but three times to try our luck again. We caught a couple of small crabs on our first and third day and a whopper on our second. It only took a couple of minutes for them to come searching for food, but it can take longer so be prepared. Someone also told me that it can help to move the bait slowly across the floor.
Whitstable is another place in the southeast where you can go crabbing (though we were not successful there – I think we chose the wrong spot).