Early on Saturday 26th September, a large group of Geography AS Level students from the LVI set off to Dartmoor National Park accompanied by Mr Curran, Mrs Froggatt, Miss Wright and Miss Aherne. Our aim - to investigate the changing characteristics of the River Dart with reference to the Bradshaw Model for our physical geography fieldwork, as well as the impacts of population change on rural settlements in the area for our human fieldwork.

Once we reached Dartmoor, we ascended Haytor - one of many imposing rock features caused by the weathering and erosion of the underlying granite batholith that the National Park is situated on. Mr Curran briefed us with a general introduction to the physical characteristics and landscape of the surrounding area and, due to the beautifully clear skies, we were even able to see the coast! We began our human study in Widecombe in the Moor, before heading off to our first river site to measure the physical characteristics - discharge, water quality, invertebrate communities and environmental quality - of the river and channel.

We were incredibly privileged to stay at private lodges within the grounds of Bovey Castle during our trip and our expectations were immediately exceeded, particularly after exploring the gym, spa and swimming pool! On our return to the lodges we were greeted with several food boxes containing ingredients and recipe cards for our DIY evening meals. The prospect of Calne girls endeavouring to self-sufficiently cook for themselves was slightly daunting, particularly for one lodge who decided that their attempted ‘vegetarian ragu’ was inedible and resorted to chocolate cornflake crispies!
We began our second day with a walk along Lydford Gorge. The scenery was amazing and we were all overwhelmed by the incredible natural beauty created merely by the fluvial erosion of the river. After an obligatory cake break, we proceeded to the first of three human settlements in order to measure several hypotheses relating to population change - quality and cost of housing, population structure, environmental quality and provision/access to services. Several ice creams, questionnaires and population counts later we departed for our final physical study of the day. Upon our return to the lodges, we wrote up our extended methodologies and evaluations before getting started on supper.

Our third and final full day began with a visit to the historic ruins of Tintagel Castle. We had completed the majority of our fieldwork and therefore the main aim of the day was to observe and appreciate the spectacularly wild and rugged Cornish coast. After an intriguing debate with Mr Curran about the speculated presence of wild boar (we eventually accepted that it was probably unlikely] we drove to Boscastle to gather information about the severe floods of 2004. We headed back to Bovey, past Dartmoor Prison - once renowned as the most high security prison in Britain, although we found this difficult to believe when the news of two escaped convicts emerged later that evening.

As it was our last evening, the teachers organised a ‘Lodge Olympics’. Being an incredibly competitive year group, we took this very seriously and one lodge even resorted to using Nutella as war paint. After being instructed to dress one lodge member as an influential public figure, we ended up with three Kim Kardashians - much to the bewilderment and bemusement of Mrs Froggatt. The hilarity and laughter escalated as each lodge tackled other challenges including a mystery taste test and the ‘glue face’ game, and it was the perfect end to an educational yet entertaining trip.

The next morning, we completed our final river study and returned to school, armed with leftover food and muddy wellies. The trip was a fun way to consolidate our knowledge and we now have a visual representation and understanding of rivers, and it was thoroughly enjoyed by all!