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Department of Geography

 

Field trips

Field trips

Fieldwork forms an integral part of the Cambridge Geography experience.

These galleries show photographs from recent undergraduate field trips and showcase a typical selection of activities and skills taught in the field. Field trip destinations change from year to year.

Online information resources

Residential fieldtrips

Fieldwork is a fundamental element in the tradition of Geographical research and teaching. Every candidate for Part 1B (second year) of the Geographical Tripos is expected to attend a residential field class. These field classes are seen as an essential building block for undergraduate final year dissertation research, both in terms of inspiring students in their choice of topics, and in teaching specific field research skills.

Field class teaching objectives and focus are diverse, reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the subject, reaching from the physical sciences through the biological sciences to the social sciences and humanities. All areas of the subject require an element of fieldwork, although not all need the same kind of field classes.

The fieldtrips aim to provide students with skills that allow them to collect data using appropriate techniques, in a safe manner, while thinking about the sensitivity to the impact of their investigations on the environment and stakeholders. Students gain experience of team work, and develop their own powers of observation, analysis, imagination and decision making.

Different trips runs in different years; recent destinations have included: the Algarve, Arolla in the Swiss Alps, Dublin, Berlin, Mallorca, Morocco, Crete and Tenerife.

The cost of the trips is heavily subsidised by the University.

Mallorca Easter field trip

Mallorca Easter field trip

The Mallorca fieldtrip is a fairly even mix of human and physical geography. Projects undertaken have been varied, from looking at coastal rock forms, to examining the portrayal of Mallorca's Arabic history, to the representation of gay space in Palma.

Morocco Easter field trip

Morocco Easter field trip

The Morocco trip has covered a diverse range of topics: the changing nature of Islam, irrigation management, communications technology, gender and work, cultural heritage, and more.

Skallingen Easter field trip

Skallingen Easter field trip

The Skallingen fieldtrip is based at the University of Copenhagen Field Station near Esbjerg, on the Wadden Sea coast of Denmark. The aim of this field course will is to allow students to learn about the barrier coastlines of NW Europe, their histories and possible futures. It also introduces students to the necessary field, research and data analytical skills for understanding physical and ecological processes in mudflat, saltmarsh, sand dune and beach environments. The location allows students to investigate the challenges of managing low-lying developed shores in the 21st Century.

Tenerife Easter field trip

Tenerife Easter field trip

The aims of this field trip are to introduce students to research and data analytical skills for developing an understanding of landscape and land-use patterns. This is primarily through field surveys, e.g. of volcanic outcrops, vegetation communities and land-use, and to integrate these with remotely sensed data, such as that provided by Landsat imagery. We work on the island in collaboration with Tenerifan volcanologists and ecologists.

Day fieldtrips

Part IA East Mersea field trip

Part IA East Mersea field trip

Part IA (first year) Skills and Methods field trip to Cudmore Grove, East Mersea, Essex.

Exercises included description of geology exposed in the cliffs, levelling across the beach and mudflat and sampling of sediments for later laboratory practical classes.

Part IB Grimes Grave field trip

Part IB Grimes Graves field trip

Part IB (second year) Biogeography field trip to Grimes Graves Neolithic flint mine and the GRIM army training area in Breckland, Norfolk.

This trip focussed on surveying vegetation abundance and species richness along a transect of quadrats, and relating these data to environmental variables including the physical and chemical properties of Breckland soil. Samples of soil were taken for later laboratory practical classes.

Part II Brancaster field trip

Part II Brancaster field trip

Part II (third year) Biosedimentary Coasts field trip to Brancaster and the West Norfolk coast.

This trip investigated the effects of the December 2013 storm surge on coastal defences at a number of locations including a demonstration of state-of-the-art survey techniques. Examples of both 'hard' and 'soft' sea defences were visited and their relationship to different tidal and wave regimes, coastal geomorphology, sediment supply and active management were discussed in depth.