On Tuesday 5 July 2016, Year 9 met up at Studland Bay, Dorset ready to learn about coastal processes and landforms.
After the students and staff demonstrated the process of longshore drift (LSD) along the beach, we then carried out an experiment to find out the direction of LSD and distance that sediment would travel over a given time.
We went on to learn about sand dune succession and how plants and animals have adapted to this habitat. We also discussed the management of the dunes by the National Trust and the negative impacts that visitors can have on this fragile ecosystem if they are not careful.
After an ice-cream to build up our energy for the walk to Old Harry Rocks, we competed in groups to make models of Old Harry Rocks on the beach so that we could understand how the headland had been eroded over hundreds of years to create a cave, then an arch, followed by a stack (Old Harry) and a stump (Old Harry’s wife).
It was then time to start our walk around to Old Harry Rocks with beautiful views along the way of Studland and Poole Harbour. Small groups were able to go up to a spectacular viewpoint and make detailed field sketches of Old Harry Rocks.
After a well-earned lunch, we carried on our walk until we arrived at Swanage Bay. There we were able to see the coastal management strategies that have been put in place to try and prevent the beach being washed away due to longshore drift and to protect the cliff to ensure it is not eroded away along with the houses and hotel above. We carried out beach profiles and measured the height of the beach either side of the groyne to see the effectiveness of this type of coastal defence. Overall, we had a lovely day and it was a fantastic introduction to coasts for the Year 9 students.