The 2018 Year 12 Geography field trip started with an early morning four hour trip to Snowdonia in North Wales. Upon arrival we were given a brief introduction to the course before heading out to nearby Penmachno to start our data collection. Here we carried out a variety of different data collection and sampling techniques to try and work out how the small village had changed over the years. We found that Penmachno had changed remarkably, from a busy mining village with many services to a very sleepy village with none of the services which were once there! It was also interesting to see how the atmosphere, infrastructure and services differed to areas in Milton Keynes. Many of us had never been to such a quiet village before! This initial investigation was in preparation for our own independent investigations that we would be carrying out later in the week. We then headed back to the field centre where we had our first on-site meal. We were catered for incredibly well, providing vegetarian and vegan options too!
After breakfast on the following day, we had a quick briefing and risk assessment in preparation for a day in Cwm Idwal. On our trip around the cwm/corrie our instructor Mark told us about the different features and various facts about the location. We then took striation orientation readings which would assist us in mapping out the Nant Ffrancon’s glacier movement. After these activities we headed to a Roche moutonnee which was further down the Nant Ffrancon valley. This gave us a better understanding of what we had been looking at in lessons with Mr Watson. After studying the Roche moutonnee we headed back to the field centre to be debriefed and to discuss what we found. After dinner we were given free time to relax in our rooms or play table tennis and connect four in the games room.
On the Sunday we travelled to Llandudno where we conducted Environmental Quality assessments and services surveys. This provided us with more experience of different sampling methods before we started conducting our own research. The weather in Llandudno was changeable, one minute the sun was shining and the next it was pouring with rain. Not ideal for a day at the seaside! When we returned to the field centre we interpreted our findings over a slice of the field centre’s famous selection of cake and a cup of tea. After dinner we returned to the classroom for a little more work and to start planning our own NEA projects. In the evening we all made our way to the games room for a table tennis tournament, including the teachers!
On Monday we were given the choice of whether we went back to Llandudno or to Cwm Idwal, depending on our independent investigation and the data we needed to collect. We decided to go to Cwm Idwal to investigate erosion and deposition in Cwm Idwal and the Nant Ffrancon valley. Once at Cwm Idwal we conducted questionnaires by the visitors’ centre, and various other techniques depending on the focus of each investigation. We then made our way up taking pictures and recording our findings. Other groups carried out footpath width and height measurements to show the impact of tourism in Cwm Idwal. I recorded the number of local erratics, evidence of plucking, landforms created by glacial movement and striations. On our return we visited the roche moutonnee for the last time then headed back to the field centre. Once back at the field centre we started to analyse and interpret our results.
On the last day we spent the morning in the classroom to try and finish off our investigation before the long journey back to Milton Keynes.
Snowdonia National Park was an exciting place to observe glacial formation, erosion, and deposition. The landscapes were sublime and can only really be appreciated with the first-hand experience we were given. Everyone really enjoyed the trip to Wales as it gave us the chance to put into practice and actually see what we had learnt back in the classroom. The fieldwork centre provided helpful, experienced, and knowledgeable advice as well as providing a warm welcome into Wales!
Chris and Dillon (A-level Geography students)