Last Friday a group of 33 lower sixth geographers visited the impressive dune system on the Norfolk coast near Burnham Overy Staithe. The weather was bright and warm which helped in the data collection on this otherwise wind swept and remote coastline.
The dune system is part of the Holkham National Nature Reserve with the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The field research included surveying of the dune relief, identifying characteristics of the vegetation succession and recording the microclimate and soil conditions. This was a most enjoyable and productive fieldtrip in which the various groups followed transects from the strandline and embryo dunes inland to the dune heath.
The photographs show the entire group being briefed at the start of the investigation. Further images will be available on the College website.
Last Friday the Upper Sixth geographers visited Stratford to examine the planning legacy of the Olympic Park.
We were fortunate that this fieldtrip was led by the current President of the Geographical Association, Bob Digby, who is an expert on urban issues in this part of London. Decisions to improve the quality of life in this relatively deprived area were evident in sport, retail and transport led developments.
A significant feature of the day was investigation of the contrasts in the urban environment. This required evaluation of Fish Island, unchanged for over a hundred years; the modern Stratford and Westfield Centres; the rapidly changing 2012 Olympic site, being redeveloped as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park; and Crossrail. Each of these planning schemes will have a significant impact on the urban geography of East London.
On Tuesday a group of twenty-five Upper Sixth geographers conducted fieldwork exercises at a number of locations in the east end of London.
First stop was Tobacco Dock, one of the less successful planning schemes of the docklands redevelopment. For many, an evaluation of the inner city area of Shadwell around Cable Street was a real eye-opener to the living conditions, communities and quality of life in one of the more deprived urban areas in London.
The work of the London Docklands Development Corporation was studied as we walked a transect through the Isle of Dogs, via Mudchute Park and Farm, and Millwall Dock, now teeming with office workers rather than dockers.
This part of the fieldtrip ended with a study of the highly successful urban planning developments at Cabot Square and Canary Wharf, the flagship area of the LDDC.
Finally, as part of our work on flood hazards we travelled further east to visit the Thames Barrier to assess its importance in protecting London from the effects of storm surges.
In all this was a most successful and enjoyable day, with students getting experience in the practical skills needed for the forthcoming Geographical Skills module in January as well as increasing their understanding of topics to be examined in the Global Issues module next summer.