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Rooks Heath School

Rooks Heath School

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Year 11 Geography residential field-trip to Swanage

Year 11 discover the secrets of Swanage in Dorset

From Friday 11th to Monday 14th September, 31 Year 11 students and 4 members of staff made the journey to the town of Swanage in Dorset, on the southwest coast of England. We travelled for 2.5 hours aboard a convoy of three minibuses, taking us out of the suburban areas we were used to, and into the rural countryside. The purpose of this trip was to gain data regarding tourism for our controlled assessment, and to learn lots about the coast and, of course, have fun!

On the first day, we met up at 7:30 at School and  drove all the way to Swanage, crossing an estuary on a ferry and stopping off on a really windy beach for lunch, which covered us in sand. After resting a bit on the less than glorious beach, we headed off to the nearby hamlet (small village) of Worth Matravers. After getting off the mini buses and settling down in the local square, we learnt about how and why life in the hamlet is different from the life we live back in Harrow. We talked about the politics of the area and learnt about the types of people who live there and how they make a living. After being filled with unexpected knowledge, we trekked down steep hills, through field and forest, to the coast where we learnt about the initial function of the hamlet, which was quarrying. Within the Isle of Purbeck, there lies a strong building material, Purbeck limestone, which is used locally and to build great structures, such as St. Paul's Cathedral. We discussed the ways that both the sea and the people had shaped this part of the coast. We then headed to the youth hostel.

For the night, we bunked up in rooms of 4, 5 and 6 and definitely fell asleep when we were supposed to (of course!) having first explored the local area and found a very crucial Subway.

The next day, we visited Knoll Beach, an area run by the National Trust. Our aim: to gather data to find out if Knoll Beach was being managed well by the National Trust for the benefit of tourists. We walked around with our work booklets and teachers, and learnt about how the area was formed, and its geographical significance. Once we had gathered the data, we walked to Old Harry’s Rocks, a spectacular natural landform and World Heritage Site, before hiking back down to Swanage.  

On our third and final full day in Swanage, we learnt about coves (another type of coastal landform). Coincidentally, a Bollywood film was being shot at our first location, Lulworth Cove! We then walked along a cliff top, discussing whether the area we were in was being successfully managed, and we compared the management to the management of Knoll Beach. Once we reached the end of our walk along the Jurassic Coast, we found a huge natural arch formation, the famous Durdle Door. This juts out into the sea, with two  very different beaches on either side. On one beach, the stones were smooth and round, and on the other they were sharper and more jagged. In the evening we had a competition. We split up into teams and we had to travel around Swanage, answering devious questions. The winners of the competition received the amazing prizes of stationery and rock (the candy, not what we were standing on).

Overall, the trip was a fun and revealing experience, with the students and teachers thoroughly enjoying themselves and wanting to go back once they had returned to School.

We would highly recommend the residential geography trip to any students in lower years - not only do you learn loads, but you have heaps of fun! 

Written by Jack 11B, Prahlad  11I and Elliot  11V

The Geography residential field trip to Swanage, starting on the 11th September 2015, was truly outstanding and extremely enjoyable. 31 students and 4 members of staff travelled for almost 3 hours in three minibuses until we arrived in the county of Dorset. After crossing an estuary on a ferry, we got out of the minibuses and walked to a windy beach where we had our lunch. We returned to the minibuses and drove to a hamlet called Worth Matravers. We then hiked through fields down to the coast where we came across a quarry and learnt about the Purbeck limestone rocks.

On the second day, we went to Knoll beach in Studland Bay, an area run by the National Trust. We were given a booklet which had to be completed by the end of the day. This was the most important day, as we had to collect primary data, draw sketches and do a series of investigations, all for our controlled assessment. We wanted to find out if Studland bay is being successfully managed for the benefit of tourists. As soon as we arrived, we instantly started filling the pages in our booklets with sketches of the honeypot site and parking area, and we took photographs of different locations as well. The area seemed pretty empty and not packed with visitors at all. I think this was due to the cloudy weather. Later on in the day, we 31 geographers were split into two groups in order to carry out the three different investigations: collecting litter from the foreshore; a footpath profile data for Studland Bay and, of course, our own personal investigation. After the teachers  explained to us how the `Blowout` area was formed, and why the National Trust created a `BBQ` site  for the tourists, it was lunch time and we all went back to the visitor centre to eat. As we had a longer lunch time than we had expected, many students decided to stroll along the foreshore, and visited the shops in the visitor centre.

After completing our work booklets, we marched up a steep hill to see “Old Harry”, which was on the other side of the bay. The long walks were painful, as we seemed only ever to walk upwards, but, at the same time, we had a lot of fun too.

On our last full day, we went to visit another part of Dorset’s stunning coastline; a beautiful place with clear turquoise water and amazing beaches. Honestly, it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Even though we all had to march up very steep hills and hence became very exhausted, I believe it was definitely worth it because when we reached the top of the cliffs, we were unable to stop looking down at the beautiful Jurassic coastline below. The scenery was simply breath-taking. We then walked down some steps so we could see “Durdle Door” (a very popular and attractive coastal landform). As soon as we reached the beach, students got into groups and were doing several different activities. Some of the students gathered together and were learning how to skim the rocks, while others sat on the beach relaxing and enjoying the magnificent view.

Overall, I tremendously enjoyed being a part of this trip, and during the four days we all got so used to the area, that it was really emotional saying goodbye to Swanage. I recommend this trip to everyone, and I mean everyone, as Swanage is such a beautiful place that you shoudln’t miss out seeing. The trip also gave me an opportunity to get to know other students from my year group, and, of course, it was very informative as well! We learnt so much about the formation of the coastline. Finally, many thanks to the members of staff who organised the residential trip, and assisted us throughout it.

Written by Schabnam 11O