Geography students visit Dorset’s coastal sea defences

First year Geography A-level students monitored the success of coastal management systems on their recent trip to the seaside town of Bournemouth.

Students measured the value for money and cost effectiveness of the town’s pier defence systems, using the opportunity to create sensory maps and highlighting key areas of visitor interest. This involved taking in the area’s sights and smells to identify how visitor experience could be enhanced. Bournemouth was the first place in the UK to have purpose-built beach huts in 1909, and each year around 750,000 ice creams are sold on the resorts beaches.

Using a range of fieldwork techniques, students also explored the headland at Hengistbury Head, measuring sediment deposits to evaluate the local sea defences. Hengistbury Head features a diverse range of habitats and wildlife, and is home to over 500 plant species and 300 types of birds. It is one of the most important Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in England. Students experienced the area’s stunning views, which include the Isle of Purbeck, the Isle of Wight and Christchurch.

Team Leader Thomas Seale said: “I think this experience has been extremely beneficial and will help students to think about the topic of their own independent investigations. Students have also told me they really enjoyed using a range of fieldwork techniques to apply knowledge from their classroom studies.”

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