Lower Sixth geographers head to Wales to put theory into practice

Lower Sixth geographers set off to sunny Wales on Thursday 10 May to take part in a number of investigations surrounding the Welsh environment and to help them put theory into practice.

One student, James Stonehouse, has written the following report, detailing the students' journey:

"The geography field trip to Wales set off on Thursday 10 May and the first stop was Cardiff Bay, which we reached in the early-afternoon, ready to put our theory in the classroom to practice. Our chief aim for this first part of the trip was to determine whether the regeneration of Cardiff Bay has had a positive influence on people’s lives. In groups, we carried out an environmental quality survey, a questionnaire and a technique of our own choosing. This enabled us to get a range of quantitative and qualitative data, which we later used in the classroom at Margam Park Discovery Centre.

In the evening, it was time to look at physical geography. We walked down to the Margam River, to learn about how infiltration rates varied with the distance from the river. Both of the investigations that took place on day 1 sparked lots of ideas for all of us as to what type of coursework we could carry out going forward.

The following morning, after a well-deserved rest, we visited the Kenfig Burrows, one of Wales’ top sand dune reserves. Firstly, we analysed the beach features present, such as the cusps, and the theory behind their formation. Following this, using equipment such as clinometers (an instrument for measuring angles of slope, elevation or depression of an object with respect to gravity), we noted the angle of rise or fall of each dune. Using a quadrat, we also made notes on how the vegetation developed further inland.

Our next investigation took place in Porthcawl, to the excitement of the students, after using it as a case-study in class. In a similar manner to Cardiff Bay, here we used an EQS and a questionnaire to note how Porthcawl may have been affected by tourism. My questionnaires showed that tourism, whilst bringing employment, negatively affected the residents.

On our final morning, we visited Port Talbot. We were greeted by towering factories  and pluming smoke from several chimneys. The perception of being Britain’s most polluted town certainly daunted us. Once we were settled, we carried out investigations to determine the building quality as well as the amount of noise pollution, through a sound level metre and a soundscape.

Our field trip to Wales enabled the year to think individually about the style of coursework to carry out, as well as the methods which we may choose to use in our investigations. We would also like to extend our gratitude to Mr Boyes, Mrs Barai and Ms Hamer for the brilliant organisation of the trip."

17 May 2018

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