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Geography Field Trip to Slapton Ley by Libby Wilkinson, Year 11

Geography Educational Visit

It was a bright sunny morning on the 24 September when MSJ’s keen iGCSE geographers set out to what is known locally as the land of clotted cream, i.e. Devon. The long journey paid off when we were granted our first glimpse of beautiful Start Bay.

As the swarm of MSJ girls poured out of the bus, we were welcomed by smiling faces at one of Britain’s best Field Studies Council establishments. After a quick introduction and lesson we made our way down to Start Bay, for our first experience of fieldwork. We listened attentively to Graeme and began the first investigation, focusing on how the vegetation changes as you move inland from the sea. After working hard at this exploration we enjoyed some time on the beach, before returning to the lab to collate the results into clear tables.

The following morning we eagerly hopped onto the coach down to Start Point where the next journey would begin. The adventure began with a quick annotated sketch of the beautiful views and then we were off on a long but rewarding walk, passing through Hallsands, Beesands, Sunnydale and Torcross - with a well-earned ice cream awaiting us at the finish line. During this day we all gained valuable knowledge about the coast and coastal management in the area.  We also looked into the cross-sectional area of the beach, collecting shingle along the way to look at later. Demonstrating teamwork at its peak, we moved along the beach in MSJ’s famous geese formation, aiding and supporting each other. The evening was filled with exciting shingle investigation and looking further into the results of the day.

We awakened to an early morning tour of the weather station and Andrew, one of the FSC tutors, showed us around with pride. After breakfast and a customary trip to the village shop we made the hour long journey to Dartmoor, where investigations of the River Lemon would begin. We worked hard throughout the day, taking measurements at the upper, middle and lower course of the river, finding the depth, velocity and even a few leeches as we calculated the biotic index. As the evening unfolded we looked conscientiously into different types of graphs before flocking to the common room for England v. Wales.

The final day began with a quick visit to Mark the Farmer. Mark gave us invaluable information relating to subsidies, government schemes, organic farms and diseases within the farming system. We were enthused by the animals on his Dairy Farm, especially the new calves and famous Harvey the Bull. He was proud to show us his new milking parlour, which followed the modern development of many other farms around the country. After a full tour of the farm we reluctantly made our final journey back to the Field Centre to hop on to the coach home.

On behalf of everyone we would like to thank Mrs Hutton, Mr Howe and Mrs Ewence for making the trip so memorable.

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