Geography Field Trips
It has been a busy winter season for the geographers of South Dartmoor. The exam groups in Year 11 and 12 have been honing their geographical research skills in, what we call the “real world”. In exercises designed to stun them into the realisation that the things that we have been learning in the class room can actually happen!
Never again can these enlightened individuals regard ordinary every day locations as Exeter city centre and Dawlish Warren beach as they once did. Instead, they shall see through that carapace of humdrum mundanity and bask in the glorious technicolour of geographical processes and systems mixing and melding to create model case studies of Urban Regeneration Planning and Integrated Coastal Management!
One fresh but dry day just before Christmas the 79 GCSE geographers set off with a mind to see if there was any beneficial impact to the regeneration of the Princesshay area of Exeter. Armed with needle sharp observational skills and equally sharp pencils, they bi polar assessed buildings and tallied pedestrians and traffic, graffiti and litter at strategically selected points throughout the city along a line (transect in Geographese) from Fore street to the Odeon on Sidwell street. Illuminated with knowledge, the happy troop returned to the Cathedral Green to lap up the festive vibe of the Christmas market as a reward!
To contrast the built environment’s subjective qualitative enquiry, the GCSE students needed to actively investigate and record more quantitative data in a physical environment. They had worked hard in the previous term and come January needed a new year pick-me-up, so it was off to the beach for us. Dawlish Warren is the cover model of management schemes in the geography community, so imagine their delight at hitting the beach in winter!
Beset with equally clear and dry weather as the Exeter excursion, the students reviewed physical process and landforms of such spectacular textbook quality that they are frequently used in text books; Langstone rock arch and wave cut platform, the longshore drift of the spit itself and the defence of the railway is clearly illustrated as the GWR Plymouth bound express whistles past with cheery passengers waving. Beach transects of gradient were charted and defence methods reviewed before the lure of chips, doughnuts and seagull skirmish stowed clipboards and tape measures in bags for the buss back home. Two grand days out with exceptional students attracting public compliment along the way. I can’t wait till they get to the Isle of Arran in the Sixth Form!
Head of Geography