Geography Field Trip

The most recent A Level Geography field trip took place in the second week in February. We stayed in the magnificent Grade 1 listed Nettlecombe Court in Somerset, which is a field study centre operated by the FSC. It is an historic building held before the Norman Conquest by the son of King Harold. William the Conqueror assumed possession of Nettlecombe after defeating King Harold at the Battle of Hastings. It is surrounded by 223 acres of parkland on the edge of the Exmoor National Park. Nettlecombe makes a great location for telling ghost stories!

Study sites included Minehead town and Porlock Bay; both located on the South-West Coast Path. Minehead is well known for its Butlins holiday camp which opened in the 1960s. Our students investigated the impact of coastal defences to find out whether Butlins and the sea front at Minehead will be adequately protected from the risk of coastal flooding in the future. The Porlock Bay day had the best weather with bright sunshine where we measured beach profiles and looked at the effects of a ‘Do Nothing’ approach; which is the governments’ shoreline management plan for the next 90 years.

Year 12 students will use their fieldwork to prepare for their AS Level exams and A level students built on their experience last year in order to complete coursework ready for submission just after Easter.

Student comments: “I didn’t realise that we would hear erosion taking place with the sound of the pebbles rolling in the waves on the beach – that’s pretty cool and a bit like relaxation music.”. “Staying at Nettlecombe Court was great, they have all the equipment we needed and new things to try like data loggers and apps. It’s also helped my understanding of fieldwork and changed how I look at Oxford. I’m constantly asking questions about why and how.”. “I didn’t think I’d like the food but it was actually really good and although the building we stayed in is old, all the bedrooms and classrooms are modern, warm and we had our own bathrooms too.”

Trip leader Ms Wilkinson, Senior Leader for KS3 and Head of Geography, said, “We all had a wonderful time immersed in all things geographical for three days. The students worked really hard and some stayed in the classroom until after 10pm to complete the investigations they had started; however, they did all enjoy some free time too. The coastline we studied has incredible features and controversial flood risk management. It’s a great place for an A Level field trip.”