On October 31st and November 1st, Years 11 and 10 geographers undertook some fluvial fieldwork in the Piddle valley. The sun blessed us with its presence on both days, which made for an enjoyable experience. The aim of the day was to re-inforce knowledge of rivers and fluvial processes whilst meeting government regulations on the amount of days on which fieldwork must be undertaken. We were privileged to have the expert local knowledge of Duncan and Matt, tutors from Leeson House, who provided the equipment students used to collect a number of measurements, seeking to prove or disprove the hypothesis that Bradshaw’s Model applies to the River Piddle.
We visited 3 different sites, at Piddletrenthide, Puddletown and West Mills outside Wareham. The river became progressively wider and deeper as we went downstream. Many of the students got progressively wetter in direct proportion to this and knowledge of how much water one wellington can hold burgeoned as the trip progressed. Over the two days the Teacher’s Award for wettest student goes to Ted, wettest camera to Zeta and most water in the boots to Levi.
On a more serious note, students learnt how to evaluate a site for health and safety risks, how to measure the width, depth and wetted perimeter of a river, how to calculate speed and evaluate the type and shape of sediment. Field sketching was practised, techniques were analysed for shortcomings, man’s response to flood risk was observed and teamwork enhanced.
Students will have the opportunity to write the trip up in the classroom during the coming weeks and, hopefully, it will have been memorable enough to provide information that enables students to deal with fieldwork questions in their upcoming GCSEs.
As usual, I would like to express my sincere thanks to all the volunteer drivers who helped make this event happen.
An interesting trivia fact that engrossed all concerned was that anywhere called Puddle rather than Piddle in the valley had its name changed due to a visit from Queen Victoria during the 19th Century.