Lower Sixth Geography Fieldwork – an ‘unforgettable experience’

Nine exceptionally talented and enthusiastic Lower Sixth Geographers spent three days on the East Yorkshire coast from October 16th over the weekend to October 18th, experiencing the more physical side of their subject.

Day one saw them all observing , sketching and assessing the defensive management strategies on the Holderness coast. The group accessed the area in the School minibus and the studies were led by Mrs Buckley allowing classroom geography to come alive. Standing face to face with boulder clay cliffs visibly slumping under the attack of the North Sea, made the reality of the issues facing farms, caravan sites and housing developments close to the cliff edge all too real. Assessing the impact and effectiveness of groynes, sea walls and gabions at Mappleton, Hornsea and Skipsea gave the girls case study examples they would never forget. Their cost benefit analysis allowed them to explore the economic, social and environmental factors and deduce which schemes had been the most successful ventures and for whom. A lasting image will be of the cliffs at Ulrome where a caravan site owner had gone to desperate measures to protect his livelihood with self-styled concrete gabions that had been destroyed by the sea and dismantled for safety. The coast was left with concrete plinths and exposed pipes overhanging the edge of the cliff as the sea continued to attack.


The group arrived at the Cranedale Field Study Centre on the Friday evening and enjoyed a wonderful meal and settled into their cosy bedrooms, housed in former stables located around a courtyard. The centre presented to the girls a wonderful example of new life being given to otherwise obsolete farm buildings on the edge of the beautiful Yorkshire Wolds.


Next day they were back at the coast with all the specialist equipment from the centre and an expert tutor guiding them through a study of sand dune succession. The girls pulled together as a team and measured a range of characteristics including slope angle, soil PH, soil penetration, and water retention as well as the variety of plants in each quadrat along their transect.


The afternoon saw them all exploring the stunning chalk cliffs and features of Flamborough Head. Caves, geos, stacks, wave-cut platforms and collapsed blow holes were made all the more memorable studied at such close quarters. The scenery had that ‘wow’ factor that these girls really appreciated and captured in some exceptional field sketches and photographs. Each evening they also rose to the challenge of work in the classroom and the Cranedale tutor was extremely impressed with their attitude, understanding and the progress made with all the practical and statistical work.


Sunday was spent with equal enthusiasm measuring the characteristics of a river. Wellies were essential but as with everything the work was done with remarkable efficiency even if by now the girls were a little more tired than when they left school early Friday morning.

Everyone caught the train back to Manchester from a small rural station in Malton. Mrs Buckley said: “They were real ambassadors for the School and, as their Geography teacher, I realised what a privilege it was to be with such a motivated group of girls who were such delightful company.”