Year 12 Geography Students relish fascinating field trip to Devon

Year 12 Geography student, Hansnii Aukhjee, reports on the Devon field trip organised by the department in January. 

Our three day residential trip was to Plymouth and Totnes in Devon, where we stayed at a field study centre in Slapton Ley. This was the base for our fieldwork investigation into “coastal landscapes” and “regeneration”.

After a five hour mini-bus journey from Chingford, we arrived in Plymouth where we visited the shopping areas "Frankfort Gate” and “Drake Circus”. Here we undertook primary data collection in the form of Environmental Quality Surveys and questionnaires. The results of this suggested “Frankfort Gate” needed to be regenerated but not “Drake Circus”, since we saw how in the former area people would only enter the area for domestic goods, and wouldn’t socialise. Heathcote Year 12 Devon visitHowever, “Drake Circus” was completely different since it had high end shops and it attracted a lot of customers. Whilst on location, we had to use a map to find the places we were assigned to rate on factors such as economic, social and environmental, which helped us to compare how the two different areas were not alike due to how much regeneration the area had received.  

The next day we hiked through the pleasant winter sunshine, travelling from Start Bay on the beautiful south Devon coast to Slapton Sands. During the hike we undertook beach profiling using clinometers and tape measures; this helped us understand how the gradient of a beach changes depending on how muchSAM 3059 resize sediment is being eroded away, and therefore provided an insight into the process of long-shore drift. We also got a chance to analyse the effectiveness of sea defences such as sea walls, rip rap (a type of loose rock), and gabions (rubble contained in mesh caging). We made use of bipolar surveys and cost benefit analysis to see how the area could be affected if flooded, and estimated the damage to the local infrastructure and economy.

On our last day, we visited the rural Devon market town of Totnes. Here we studied its regeneration into a SAM 3062 resize”Transition Town”, in which it makes use of sustainable local resources, thus promoting the local economy and reducing its eco-footprint. During the morning we visited some local shopkeepers and business owners in order to question them on the town’s regeneration and how it has impacted them as individuals, and whether or not they thought it was beneficiary. We also had a chance to take pictures and tally up how many businesses were independently owned and how many were chain stores, a process known as clone town surveying.SAM 3085 resize

I know I speak for all of Year 12 when I say we thoroughly enjoyed this fieldwork. The 12k hike on the second day was breath-taking and pushed us beyond our comfort zones. Our enjoyment was owed in part to being exceptionally lucky with the weather, not to mention the ping pong table and excellent local sausages at our accommodation!

A huge thank you to Mr Wright and Mr Hore-Lacy for organising the trip.


Hansnii Aukhjee 12.4

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