Last week, our 103 AS geographers went on a residential field studies trip to Surrey and the East Sussex coast.
Travelling down from North London on two very full coaches (and the college minibus), our students stayed at Juniper Hall, a Field Studies Council centre just outside Dorking in Surrey, at the foot of Box Hill.
The trip not only completes important field work components, but gives new AS students a chance to get to know their class mates and make new friends.
Keen geographers outside Juniper Hall
Juniper Hall was built in the 17th century and extended in the 1780s. During World War II it was used by the Canadian military and in 1945 sold to the national trust who lease it to the FSC. Our students bunked on the upper floors for the duration of of their visit (along with other buildings on the site) and the downstairs served as their classrooms, social area and canteen.
The two night trip was bookended by visits to neighbouring Guildford, where students completed the human geography aspect of their field work by comparing and contrasting data gleaned from two differing areas - one affluent and one deprived. This involved surveying the areas in small groups and talking to local people about aspects of their environment.
James Bartlett, one of our new AS students from North Bridge House Senior School said "The trip not only taught be about fieldwork skills and collecting data but it also helped me bond with my class and get to know them better."
Students getting a close up look at how the power of waves can erode beaches
On day two the whole group visited the East Sussex coast to study coastal systems and landscapes. The first stop was Seaford to observe the coastal landform and assess coastal management strategies. We arrived in a shower of rain and a heavy offshore wind which came as a surprise to many students who wished they had wrapped up a little warmer...
This umbrella lasted all of three minutes..
Part of the field work for coasts involves 'examination of sustainable flood risk and erosion management including shoreline management and integrated coastal zone management' and students saw this management first hand as the Seaford beach was zoned off for a fleet of tractors to redistribute the shingle and stones.
Passing the Lighthouse wall on the way to Newhaven
After a lunch break in Seaford town, the group headed off to Newhaven to do fieldwork investigation
to examine the coastline as a natural
system. Despite a break in the rain, students were still soaked by wave spray from the offshore wind, which was battering the lighthouse there.
Student Elif Ozogu, previously of Park View School, said "Socialising with new people was the best part, but it was SO SO SO COLD! It was a good opportunity to get to develop resilience and you get to learn to be more independent than you normally would"
Students visited Newhaven beach
processes (with particular reference to beach size and shape).
Taking measurements in the windy conditions was not easy...
Over 100 students descend on the beach like a medieval army
Nnenna Egele, who came to Woodhouse from Bishop Stopford's School said "I loved the geography trip - except for the wind and rain! I made loads of new friends."
Jasmine Elliott, formerly of Fortismere School said "I really enjoyed visiting so many different sites on the trip that I've never been to before, and I liked the independence of navigating around each area in small groups, where we all bonded."
After a busy day of coastal data acquisition, students were happy to fall asleep on the coaches back to Juniper Hall where they enjoyed tea and cake - before more classes in the evening!
All in all, a packed three days and two nights of classes, field trips and fusball in the social area, but well worth the visit - both geographically and socially.