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In praise of flat places

Flat places seem hardly to count as places. They’re just the gaps between landmarks. If people think about flatlands at all, it’s usually to call them boring. Nothing to look at, nothing to focus on, no hidden places to discover. To be flat is to be dull: a cut-and-dried equation. I've got a copy of 'A Flat Place' by Noreen Massud. Check out the GeoLibrary for some more. She contributed a piece to The Guardian's feature on holidays to explain why she likes to visit flat places. There's some excellent descriptions of the value of flatness and why other places leave her cold and anxious. Excellent for units exploring the distinctive landscape of this area, and the value of flatness in areas such as the Somerset Levels and elsewhere. Can I also recommend that you subscribe to Drew's Fenland on Film YouTube channel. Drew does fantastic work collating, sharing and restoring films about the Fens and places such as Ely. Here's one of his latest projects: a restor
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Hillslope Modelling in Scratch

  In the 1980s, my geography teacher and one of my lecturers collaborated on coding a simple hillslope model which looked at runoff on a hillslope. It was made available as an early piece of software for purchase and reviewed in TG at the time. I wrote about it here. It was for sale at the time - for use on the BBC B computer. The TG description is shown here. A post from Dr. Chris Skinner led me to a modern take on this theme. A group of people led by Dai Yamazaki have been coding a model for the movement of water down and through a hillslope using Scratch and have made the code available. There's a close link with the model from the 1980s.... I had a copy. You can tinker with the code as well. If I had a little more time I'd give this a go. New paper is out. We develop a rainfall-runoff model using educational programming language Scratch, and make it playable as a game. We found through a workshop that learning through game helps to more deeply understand flood mechanism.

Making Space for Sand

  Making Space for Sand is a project I was made aware of recently. The ‘Building Community Resilience on a Dynamic Coastline by Making Space for Sand’ project (also known as Making Space for Sand or MS4S) is one of 25 national projects funded by DEFRA as part of the £200 million Flood and Coastal Innovation Programme (FCRIP).  The programme will drive innovation in flood and coastal resilience and adaptation to a changing climate. The project website has an excellent section outlining the formation of Sand Dunes, particularly within the located context of Cornwall. Sand Dunes are an important part of the coastal defences in the locations where they are found. I am particularly familiar with the dunes on the North Norfolk Coast at places like Holkham.  I've previously carried out fieldwork on those dunes with both GCSE and 'A' level students, and also  Atkins has provided GIS support and created some visualisations of future landscapes.

AONBs are now called National Landscapes

  From today, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are now called 'National Landscapes'. This is another change which will impact on many printed resources / textbooks / websites and resources that are under construction which focus on landscape management. This site has a nice interactive map of the 46 areas but currently has the old name. Check the website for more details. Welcome to National Landscapes – a new chapter in the story of designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) in England and Wales. Find out more at 1/5 — National Landscapes Association (@NatLandAssoc) November 22, 2023 Some nice graphics on the Twitter feed - check the thread today to kick start the new association and name.  From the site: The new name reflects their national importance: the vital contribution they make to protect the nation from the threats of climate change, nature depletion and the wellbeing crisis, whilst also creating grea

GetOutside Day

  I hope you have something planned for today! Between 2018 and 2020 I worked as a GetOutside Champion for the Ordnance Survey: part of a team of people in various locations around the country encouraging people to get outside in different ways. Some of them were athletes, bloggers, Instagrammers, runners, paralympians and TV personalities. I was just a geography teacher using my blogging and role to encourage fieldwork and other outdoor activities in the curriculum. We added a Fieldwork Week to my Presidential year, with thanks to Paula Richardson for her efforts there, and expanded it to a Fieldwork Fortnight last year. There is plenty of advice on the Ordnance Survey's page for this day when people are encouraged to spend time outdoors. And don't forget to follow the Countryside Code.

Robert MacFarlane in the Cuillins

Starting later today is a new two part series on the Cuillin Hills of Skye . It is presented by Robert MacFarlane. It will, of course, be excellent, especially given the involvement of the three musicians that he mentions here. Hello––I made a two-part @BBCRadio4 programme abt Skye's Cuillin Ridge, all recorded in situ. First ep goes out this Tuesday at 16.00hrs. Would love it to find ears! Prod by @HelenNeedham , w/ a new song by @juliefowlis , @DuncanWChisholm , @ShawDonald & me. — Robert Macfarlane (@RobGMacfarlane) September 18, 2023 In this two part series, we accompany the writer and mountaineer Robert Macfarlane on his attempt to complete the Cuillin Ridge. This expedition marks twenty years since his first book 'Mountains of the Mind' in which he tries to understand the human fascination with mountains. Along the way, he muses on the ways in which these particular mountains have been explored imaginatively and in reality. The reality fo