The Shell Spotter’s Guide

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Pub Date 28 Mar 2024 | Archive Date Not set
Collins Reference | National Trust Books

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  • Supported by the National Trust, who look after over 780 miles of Britain’s coastline.
  • Turns any beach into a treasure hunt. A simple, nostalgic pleasure and a connection with the wonders of nature.
  • Beautifully illustrated and packed with surprising and delightful facts.

Looking for seashells and learning their names is the perfect way to explore Britain’s coastline at leisure. It’s a nostalgic simple pleasure, and a way to discover some of nature’s most exquisite wonders. From the common cockle to the blue-rayed limpet, The Shell Spotter’s Guide covers the beautiful and surprising range of mussels, oysters, periwinkles, scallops, cowries and whelks found on our beaches.

This beautifully illustrated book written by marine biologist Helen Scales is the perfect companion for all aspiring shell spotters.

  • Supported by the National Trust, who look after over 780 miles of Britain’s coastline.
  • Turns any beach into a treasure hunt. A simple, nostalgic pleasure and a connection...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780008641313
PRICE £9.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 34 members

Featured Reviews

The Shell-spotters Guide by Helen Scales is a great book to have if you love being by the sea and enjoy seeing the seashells. There's something magical about finding shells while out walking on the beach and this book makes the experience even better.

I am lucky to stay 5 minutes from the local beach so I was excited to get this book to learn more about the seashells and who lived in them before they were washed up.

Helen Scale's enthusiasm for the genre really comes though in the book. Its catching as I found my self wanting to learn even more about the sea creatures who have sea shells as their homes.. The book has great illustrations throughout as well. Its easy to read and doesn't baffle you with science.

I would recommend getting a hard copy of the book so you can enjoy writing when and where you spotted the shells. It would be great to add your own pictures to the book and make it like a journal. I have given the book 5 stars but I would have given it more if I could!!!

Thanks to Netgalley and Collins Reference for the ARC Copy of the book, This review is my own opinion.

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A must for every marine lover and those wanting to get more out of their experience on the coastline.

I think there’s something about shells that awakens the child in all of us or awakens that excitement in children scoping the shoreline in search of treasures. It’s the sense of discovery and looking upon something that’s come from another world - they truly are beautiful and the more you know about them, the more that beauty is uncovered. I can’t be the only one who finds it hard not to leave a beach without a few pretty shell momentos?!

I’ve read a few books by Helen Scales before and she has the outstanding ability to make you care (Spirals in time was a brilliant book!). Her enthusiasm becomes your enthusiasm and ever since then, I’ve had a new respect for marine life and shells are a big part of that. This book is the perfect start for getting to know what you might find on your travels and give names to your discoveries.

From what you might expect to see roaming along the beach, correct shell collecting ettiquette, tides and shell art, there’s even sections for you to jot down your own findings and when you saw them to keep a note.

Especially when inciting a passion onto the younger generation, books like these are fab. They’re not just filled with succinct and easy to understand information but also filled with stunning pictures and illustrations - you’re bound to learn something from this book.

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I live near the beach and visit most days. Although I am an avid shell collector that I use in my embroidery work I don’t know the names or anything about their inhabitants. This opened my eyes do a new seashore world. I will buy a hard copy when it is available.

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I really enjoyed Helen Scales' writing. I'm not sure how she does it, but I simply ended up smiling while hopping from one page to the next. I appreciated reading about all the wonderful sea shells the British Isles have to offer. It was so nice to finally put a name to some of those I end up picking up when I'm on the beach. This book exudes such a lovely energy, with inviting pictures that make it a joy to read. You won't regret picking this one up. Thank you, NetGalley and Helen, for this lovely invitation to read. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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A wonderful book to have in hand when exploring our beaches. The book has some delightful illustrations and is so well written and informative including some history of what people have done with shells over the ages. There is also some general information including shell collecting etiquette and staying safe. I shall certainly be buying this book for my elder granddaughter, a budding naturalist, who has started asking more in depth questions about the shells she finds.

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This book is all about nostalgia. Didn't we all, as children, collect shells from the beach? I haven't stopped and my collection is on display in my seaside themed bathroom and I'm very proud of it. There aren't many shells I don't have after about fifty years of collecting.

For Dr. Helen Scales it was the start of a career in marine biology and I'm grateful that she has created this guide with the National Trust. Although I have a superb collection, I don't know most of the names of the shells besides the obvious cockles (and even then, there are several varieties.) But there is no problem in identifying them now.

Following a brief introduction about general collecting, exploring, safety and collecting etiquette, the guide lists an A to Z catalogue of the shells most found on the Britishes shores. It includes a description of the shell and the creature that it was once home to, where to typically find them and a little area to note where and when the reader/hunter found the shell: 'I spotted this shell at...on... and is accompanied by a beautifully detailed colour image by Ella Sienna.

The book also has several features like shell art, recommended guides, a glossary, myths surrounding shells and tides. Clearly laid out, easy to follow with unfussy, layman's language, it is a wonderful book for anyone interested in nature or the seaside. Written by someone who truly loves the sea and all its inhabitants. A fantastic guide, which I heartily recommend.

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What an absolutely beautiful book! The watercolour illustrations alone are gorgeous but the text by Helen Scales is also lovely - very informative and really encourages you to take a closer look at the world around you. I loved the fact this book has space for you to add a little about where and when you found the shell - it would be a beautiful thing to carry with you on a beach walk, a real encouragement to learn more about the natural world and just to take a step back from the chaos of the world and appreciate nature. It's a book that can be enjoyed by adults and it never dumbs things down but it would also be perfect for a child to really learn about the environment in an engaging way.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an advance copy in return for an honest review.

#TheShellspottersGuide #NetGalley

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Great for beachcombers. This National Trust guide has beautiful illustrations of each shell followed by a full description, including its Latin name. This makes it easier to identify the exact shell you've spotted as well as the generic category it belongs to, eg bivalve. I didn't realise that some of the molluscs are carnivorous! It also has useful sections on shell collecting etiquette and staying safe on the sea-shore. There's also a comprehensive index and space for you to jot down your findings on the beach. A great reference book which is also an enjoyable read. You will never get your blunt gapers and dog whelks muddled up again!

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A lovely little book to keep in your pocket when spending time by the sea shore.
The author describes shell spotting as a 'simple pleasure', and encourages us to leave some shells for others to find instead of taking them all.
The shells are listed in alphabetical order, each with a description and a delightful illustration. At the end of each description there is a place for the individual to note where and when a specific shell was found.
There are some interesting facts about each shell eg - the common cockle grows slowly in the winter, and lives just below the surface of the sand.
An informative and useful book. Would make a great gift.

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There are so many great tips in this book and I will definitely use it when I next go to the beach, I am hoping it will help me spot shells easier.

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This wonderful resource with gorgeous illustrations, detailed descriptions, and an index is a dream come true for shell collectors, thanks to UK's National Trust.

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Full of useful information, facts, and absolutely stunning illustrations, The Shell Spotters Guide is a must have for those interested in shells! I love that it's beautifully typeset and has a space where you can record your shell sightings too.

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The shell spotters guide is beautifully illustrated and a pleasure to look through. It is also very informative and full of interest. Whether you are looking for a practical guide to shells while you are beachcombing or a gorgeous and inspiring book to leaf through then I would recommend this as definitely worth adding to your shelves.

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I love the sea and walking on the beach always looking for shells and new types of shells even though I didn't do it for some time. This book reminded me of those days and I have learned so many things from it that now I can't wait to go to a beach so I can spot some shells and give them an identity and not just "I found a shell".

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