Fieldwork in Bannau Brycheiniog National Park

20th June 2023
BY Alice Bonham, Geography Don

On Wednesday, thirty Year 12 geographers traveled to Herefordshire and the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park to undertake residential fieldwork in a variety of lowland glaciated landscapes.

The first stop was Frankland’s Gate Quarry to explore an old gravel pit with exposed beds of very coarse gravel, sand and silt. Whilst at this location the students reminded themselves of the glacial evolution of Herefordshire although the physical search for striations at this location was beyond everyone. The next location was near Berrington Hall to discover the Devensian terminal moraine. After lunch, they travelled onto New House Farm, where they enjoyed hunting for fossils before recording a sediment log of a particular section of the gravel pit identifying different layers of coarse-to-fine sediment.

There was a brief stop at Mortimers Cross to gain a sense of scale of the meltwater channel within the valley, before heading to Shobdon, to consolidate their knowledge with a simple field sketch that picked out the key topographic high areas. The final stop of the day was Sturts Nature Reserve, Norton Cannon, which is an area covered by glacial ponds that appear to be pitted sandur. At this location, Eve Cavey, our Duncan Louis Stewart Natural History Fellow, spoke about the flora and fauna you would expect to find in this environment and helped the students identify some newts.


After a successful day out in the field, the Thursday was spent in Hereford city centre as the students practiced data collection for their NEAs.

There were two potential projects to study whilst in Hereford :- either the study of the sense of place and how three contrasting retail areas influenced behaviour of the public; or the focus on the Index of Multiple Deprivation and whether it is a good measure of quality of life in three contrasting areas.

After conducting the basis of their investigation, setting a suitable hypothesis, determining the appropriate methodology and data collection, the students spent the rest of the day working hard to collate, evaluate and prepare conclusions so they could present their findings to the rest of the group in the evening. Some students also managed to visit the Mappa Mundi in Hereford Cathedral which is an outstanding treasure of the Medieval world showing the geography of the known world in c.1300.

Following an evening of excellent presentations, on the final day of the fieldtrip we travelled to the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park, in Wales. Our first stop of the day was Craig Cerrig-Gleisiad where the students produced annotated field sketches of the surrounding upland landscape whilst avoiding all the horse flies! And then to finish the trip on a high, we climbed the 886m high Pen Y Fan with spectacular views in the sunshine, before heading back to Winchester.

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