Written by Ashleigh
The residential field trip to the Peak District is definitely one of the highlights of first year in my opinion. It gave us a chance to experience carrying out fieldwork in a new environment, whilst also allowing us to socialise and bond together as a course throughout the trip’s duration.
The first day was mainly spent travelling, but after a pretty lengthy 6 hour coach journey (it’s not as bad as it sounds- we stopped off for food on the way!), we arrived at the youth hostel we were staying at in the Peak District National Park, which varies from year to year that the trip is run however in our case this was the Castleton YHA Hostel. We then had an introductory lecture to give us a flavour of what the upcoming few days would bring. This included information on the geology and geomorphology of the Peak District, specifically in our surrounding area in Hope Valley.
On the second day it was an early rise for breakfast in the hostel’s canteen, before heading out and up Mam Tor, which is a 517m hill in the High Peak area near Castleton, for a range of activities involving geographical skills learned from the Practical Skills in Geography Unit. These included surveying Mam Tor for mass movement which involved the use of GNSS (a Global Navigation Satellite System), completing a field sketch, finding and recording bearings using a compass, and calculating contour measurements in order to create a contour map of Mam Tor.
Day 3 held a stronger focus on Human Geography, where we learned about Rapid Rural Appraisals and how to define a rural area in relation to the issues of that area, which was followed up by a practical activity of conducting RRA’s by carrying out questionnaires on local residents of Hope Valley.
The final day was spent doing our individual group projects which contributed to 50% of our final grade for the unit. We had to design and execute a project that posed a question about the geography of the Peak District, and then bustudent present our findings and results to the class on the final day. The other 50% was formed of an overall mark given on our field notebooks which we used to take notes and complete activities throughout the duration of the trip.
So, this was all to do with the work required for the unit, however for me there was so much more that made this trip such a highlight. For example, one evening we attended a pub quiz at a local pub near the youth hostel which was definitely a night to remember! Additionally when we got free time throughout the trip, we were able to explore the area which was fun and allowed us to bond as a course.
Overall a very fun and interesting experience that I am sure you will enjoy if you choose to study BSc (Hons) Geography at BU!