Sunday, 6 May 2012

Successful Reculver Fieldwork – A day at the coast!

On 4th May 2012 Bethany School Geography Department visited the North Kent coast around Reculver.  Our largest ever cohort of Year 10 Geographers, almost 75% of the year group, arrived in style by coach and spent the day investigating what effect geomorphic, or ‘Earth-shaping’, processes are having on the coast.  We all had a fantastic day out, learnt a lot and all recorded high-quality data.  We stayed dry all day and even had about an hour of sunshine!

Most of the North Kent coast is highly managed to prevent the dual hazards of coastal erosion and flooding.  The section of coastline we visited is particularly interesting as you can see the two most contrasting approaches to management – ‘hold the line’ and ‘do nothing’.  What makes Reculver a particularly useful site for GCSE Geography classes is that this variation in processes and management is all within easy walking distance.  Reculver Country Park also boasts coach parking, a new visitor interpretation centre and clean public toilets.  Road access is easy being close to the Thanet Way A299. 
Walking by the unprotected cliffs at Reculver
Secondary Research methods
To investigate how geomorphic processes are affecting the coast here students used a GIS (Geographical Information Systems) package called Digital Worlds to measure erosion rates.  They did this by using maps from 1862 and 2012 and carefully comparing the coastlines.  We also used Bing Maps’ excellent ‘birds eye’ aerial photography to conduct pre-visit virtual fieldwork.  Students could clearly see dramatic landslides in the unprotected coastline and the full range of coastal management strategies protecting urban areas.  You can go on a virtual fieldtrip here: http://www.georesources.co.uk/recintro.htm

Primary data collection
Out in the field students used a clinometer to measure slope angles, photographs to record the current state of cliffs and field-sketches to help interpret what they could see.  Some students also recorded 360° panoramic videos to help them remember the fieldwork sites.
My class at Reculver
Writing up our results
Students now have 1200 words and 5 weeks to write up their results.  They need to apply their conceptual understanding geomorphic processes and coastal management and combine this with terminology to produce a quality piece of work.  We will almost certainly use this site again. You can see some of the photos below.