A GROUP of King’s Ely’s Year 12 Geography students headed to Snowdonia National Park to complete fieldwork and studies of the physical environment, themed around investigating the relict glacial landscapes found in the park.
Teacher of Geography at King’s Ely Senior, Helen Melville, who led the trip, said: “We began by travelling over during Wednesday morning before trialing interesting and innovative fieldwork methodologies in the small town of Betws-y-Coed. These included smell-scaping, soundscapes and following Derivé cards that took students on a random journey around the town. The evening involved some follow up activities and initial considerations of the future NEA investigations.
“The first full day of fieldwork was based in the glaciated upland area around Llyn Ogwen with a short walk up to Cwm Idwal during which we were blessed with plenty of very pleasant sunshine. Detailed field studies were undertaken to investigate the patterns of striations in the rocks, small ‘scratches’ in bedrock that can be used to interpret the direction of ice flow during the last glaciation. We also completed an investigation into the orientation of the corries in the area to aim to establish the direction of ice flow during the last glacial maximum.
“Day two concentrated on the depositional influences of glaciation and generally involved everyone getting quite muddy whilst carefully extracting clasts (rock fragments) from the glacial till deposited as the valley glaciers melted. This activity helped students to understand how the material within the glacier is transported and also what influences it’s placement and orientation within the till. We also walked across the depositional landscape, visiting a kame and an esker and played a game to simulate seasonal meltwater flows helping us to understand how fluvioglacial material can become stratified, or sorted.
“The stay at the FSC Rhyd-a-Creau study centre was excellent with comfortable rooms, hot showers and plentiful home cooked food and we were looked after superbly as always by their friendly and helpful staff. All the students were wonderful company and a great pleasure to take away on the trip. Everyone found the activities added great value to not only their specific fieldwork knowledge and skills, but also to their overall understanding of the processes and scale of the glaciated environment.”