Year 10 Geography Students enjoy Field Trip to Essex Coast
On Wednesday 25th April and Thursday 26th April, the three Year 10 Geography classes went to Walton-on-the-Naze in Essex to carry out some fieldwork on coastal defences. Tegan Whitney in Year 10 reports back from the field...
We left school at roughly 8:35am and boarded the coach. The coach journey was approximately 2 hours and we arrived in Walton at about 10:30am. When we arrived, the first thing I saw was the ocean - the sun was shining, which made the ocean glisten; however, there was still a biting wind chill.
When we got off the coach we were led into the Naze Centre, where we were introduced to two women from The Essex Wildlife Trust. They explained to us what activities would take place during the day in order to undertake our fieldwork studying ‘the effectiveness of Walton-on-the-Naze’s coastal management’. We were split into two teams and handed a data collection booklet which we would be completing throughout the day. After that, we were taken by our guide (Angela) who led us down to the Crag Walk, where we sat and discussed what coastal processes are acting upon the Naze coastline. She also gave us some background information on Walton's cliffs and the way the unmanaged beach had formed geologically. We then completed annotated field sketches and environmental quality surveys to aid our investigations. Once everybody had completed these, we headed down to the managed part of the beach.
When we got down to the managed part of the beach, we were split into small teams. Each team was given a pair of tape measures, one of which we used to measure 18 metres from the shoreline to the end of the groyne. We then took the second tape measure and measured the height of the groyne from the top, right down to the sand. We did this to determine how much sediment there was and how the groynes were preventing the process of longshore drift. For this method we use systematic sampling, repeating every two meters along the groyne from the sea shore.
During lunch, we were given the opportunity to pay £1.50 to climb to the top of the Naze Tower. This is a 100m tall lookout tower and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), dating back to 1720. A fellow classmate and I took the opportunity and the view from the top was stunning. You could see right out to sea and all of the surrounding countryside. The view was breath-taking.
After lunch, Angela called us all over and explained to us that we were going to measure the beach profile (how steep the beach is) at two locations; a section of the beach with groynes installed and a section without. We got into our teams of three and were given two ranging poles, a clinometer and a tape measure. We then once again had to measure 18 metres from the shoreline and lay the tape measure flat on the sand. Once we had laid the tape measure completely flat, we had to lightly hold the poles 2 metres away from one other and place the clinometer on the first white line on the pole. We then looked through the little window in the clinometer at the inbuilt protractor inside. This would give us the gradient of the beach between the two-metre margin. Again, we used a systematic sampling methods and repeated this technique every 2 metres.
After all groups had completed the task, we sat on the sea wall and collated our data to improve its credibility. We then had 5 minutes to relax on the beach before heading back up to the Naze Centre, where we discussed the limitations of our fieldwork and what could have affected our results. By the time we finished all the activities, it was roughly 2:35pm. We were given the chance to look around and some of us purchased some local shark teeth and fossils from the gift shop. We then all got back onto the coach and headed home, just as it started to rain! We arrived back outside the school about 4:30pm, tired but feeling alive from our coastal experience.
Overall, it was a great day which provided us with in the field experience which we can apply to our GCSE exam next year. A huge thank you to Mr Wright and the Geography department for arranging it!
Tegan Whitney (10A1GG)