Friday, 20 December 2013

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Plenty more blogging on landscapes and teaching to come in 2014.
For now here's an image by one of my favourite landscape illustrators Ronald Lampitt.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Storm Surge

I spent yesterday on the first part of a journey around the coast of Norfolk from Wells next the Sea, visiting some of the communities that were affected by the recent storm surge. The surge affected communities much further up the coast in Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire, then down into the Thames estuary.
I will be writing up some of the discussions that I had with people and the stories that I collected in further posts over the next week or so.

The full detail, and more images, will appear in a range of resources, including a new GCSE textbook.
Here's a selection of the images I took yesterday...

I was also particularly interested in this image, which shows the area of London that would have flooded in the surge if the Thames Flood Barrier had not been built.

Image copyright: Environment Agency

The Environment Agency has shared a range of valuable information, and I will be adding to that in further posts...

Monday, 2 December 2013

UK's Greatest Mountain

Leaving aside the old debate about when is a mountain a mountain ?
Just voted for my favourite mountain on this poll.

Which is yours ?
Cast your vote.

Here's a picture of my favourite mountain.

Image from Flickr user spodzone - shared under Creative Commons license for which many thanks....

Saturday, 23 November 2013

National Geographic Talk

Here's some photos from the recent talk that Dan Raven Ellison and his son Seb did at the National Geographic store in London, based on their ROUTE 125 exhibition.

The pictures were taken by Jose Farinha.
They can be viewed on the store's FACEBOOK page.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

What if London were a National Park ?

A nice piece by Dan Raven Ellison on his blog. We have plenty of rural  national parks, so why not an urban one ?

One to discuss with students perhaps.

What if London were a National Park

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Keeping Cheddar Gorgeous ?

“This is the equivalent to trying to build a cable car in front of Buckingham Palace. Cheddar Gorge is of international importance. There are better ways of driving business without destroying the very asset people come to see. It is far better to retain the uniqueness of the place.”  

Helen Bonser-Wilton, assistant director of operations at the National Trust.

Year 7 explored the plans to build a cable car in Cheddar Gorge.

Over half term, this has come into the news once again (it looks like we were ahead of the game here), and here are a few links that you could follow to bring the story up to date.
We may take a look at this in the next week or so, although we have other things that we have to do before we move into the exam week, which will be on us before we know it.

First, there's a clip from West Country News.... (may only work for a limited time)
A few different opinions expressed here...

Also an article from the Daily Mail, which shows some mocked up images of how the cable car will look, and describes the plans.

Also an article in the Independent

Followed by two local papers:

- the Cheddar Valley Gazette
- the Weston Mercury

The National Trust and the CPRE are both against the planned development in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
CPRE have produced a report on what they call 'England's Threatened Landscapes'
Click HERE to  download a report and also map and other materials relating to this report.
Cheddar Gorge is included on the map of threatened landscapes...

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

SAGT Conference Seminar - 2013

My seminars are available to view on my SLIDESHARE page.

I referred to Paul Cornish’s useful diagram from the GA’s curriculum planning site, which asks questions relating to the choice of case studies.
Hopefully these move away from ‘the one in the textbook’… and are influenced by student and teacher choice and also experiences.

I used the idea from Doreen Massey’s lecture where she referred to mountains themselves as ‘migrants’ in that they were constantly moving and changing, and how maps are a surface on which millions of stories are told.

The idea of curriculum making came through, as did the idea of telling stories. Geography means 'writing the Earth' of course, and there are lots of opportunities for this to happen in familiar landscapes. I talked about teaching about mountains in the Fens, where the highest point was only 26m above sea level.

I used an extract from Robert MacFarlane's 'The Old Ways' along with 'Digimap for Schools'

There were also some ideas from Noel Jenkins on ‘grabbing’ and appropriating landscapes using Google SketchUp – which he added to with models from the SketchUp Warehouse.
I mentioned Tony Cassidy's Facebook idea with Liz Smith examples.

Dropbox folder of resources was shared with the delegates. Thanks to the fifty or so delegates who chose to come to my session...

If you would like to have access to the main written resource, drop me a line...

Yorkshire the third best region in the world...

According to a recent survey...

This Channel 4 report provides more information on the survey...

Several landscape stories in the press...

The first is that Scotland has been voted as the third best country to visit by Lonely Planet.


  1. Brazil
  2. Antarctica
  3. Scotland
  4. Sweden
  5. Malawi
  6. Mexico
  7. Seychelles
  8. Belgium
  9. Macedonia
  10. Malaysia

Monday, 21 October 2013

Landscape Photographer of the Year

View some of the images, including the winning one HERE on the Daily Telegraph website.

Some wonderful images, although I reckon Noel Jenkins has taken some that are just as good :)

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Adventure Landscapes

Thanks to all those who contributed to my survey on Adventurous activities that had been carried out and the link with places, towards the end of the summer holiday in preparation for the new term...
Here are all the results summarised from Google Drive...

Monday, 30 September 2013

Thought for the Day

"A walk is just one more layer, a mark laid upon the thousands of other layers of human and geographic history on the surface of the land"
Richard Long

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Get out into the landscape...

Enhancing Fieldwork Learning is an HEA funded project, which explores the way that technology can enhance pedagogy in fieldwork in particular. There is a focus on data collection, and the use of mobile learning.

Last year, I went to the 2nd annual Showcase event of the project at Preston Montford Field Studies centre, and until recently I was due to attend the 3rd event at Rhyd Y Creuau

I gave a presentation last time on our work with Mission:Explore and the connections with ludic pedagogies...

This time I was going to talk about the DISTANCE project that we have been working on.
However, instead of making my way to Snowdonia yesterday, I was teaching, and instead of presenting at the FSC Centre today, I was marking Year 7 homework. All part of my transition back to teaching...

I've tweeted a few folks who are at the event, and from the sound of it there have been some excellent presentations and fieldwork excursions.
I've been following the event hashtag too: #eflshowcase

Follow the Twitter account too...

Some apps and other tools that I've been using for some years have been getting a mention, so good to know that I'm up to date here... Some further new ideas too. Some of the resources will also be shared on the website after the event hopefully...

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Fieldwork through Enquiry..

I'm heading out to the coast in a few weeks for a GCSE fieldtrip. A great way to see the landscape...

Now in the GA Store...

Saturday, 7 September 2013

New reading...

I'm possibly heading over to Toppings book shop later in the month for a talk by the author of this book: Tim Dee.
It moves from the Cambridgeshire Fens to Chernobyl and other distant places...

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Word of the day...

Petrichor (/ˈpɛtrɨkər/ or /ˈpɛtrɨkɔər/) is the scent of rain on dry earth. The word is constructed from Greek, petra, meaning stone + ichor, the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology. It is defined as "the distinctive scent which accompanies the first rain after a long warm dry spell"

Monday, 22 July 2013

Current reading...

A classic book on the Cairngorms.
Preparing for SAGT conference session which is on the mountains of Scotland....

I hear thunder... hark don't you...

Thunder and lightning is predicted for the next few days, as the heat and humidity that has built up over the last few weeks comes to a climax...
There are some thunderstorms developing already and it's possible that tonight will be dramatic...

It's worth following a few Twitter accounts which are related to weather and such issues...

@MetOffice - of course
@UKASF - UK Storm Forecasts
@CloudAppSoc - Cloud Appreciation Society

I'll be putting together some materials related to the summer heatwave ready for the new academic year. There are plenty of economic connections.

There are various weather apps which will also be useful for tracking the storms, and sites such as Rain Today.

Given the dry, baked nature of the ground, flash flooding is likely...

Image: Alan Parkinson

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Our new Mission:Explore book

A superb way to explore the landscape is to go camping...

In association with the RSPB...

The RSPB Big Wild Sleepout will take place over the summer.

Follow the link for ideas to while away the warm summer evenings...

Monday, 8 July 2013

Barefoot World Atlas - free at the moment...

A range of apps have gone free on the App store...
Some of them are mentioned on this Mashable post. I heard via Twitter from Clare Rafferty first thing this morning...

The Barefoot World Atlas is the first app that I installed - thankfully, I'd had a clear out recently and had the 1Gb+ of space that it takes...
This was developed with the assistance of Nicholas Crane and looks rather nice...
Get it while you can at 'my favourite price'....

Also check out some of the other free apps too....

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Wind Turbines

An update from the Telegraph which will add an extra 'layer' to those lessons on Wind Turbines...

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

300 up...

This blog was launched to support my KS3 Toolkit book when it was published.

There are now 301 posts here, which include further resources to flesh out the lessons in the book, as well as other more general landscape-related posts. Thanks for reading.

The book is still available from the GA shop - if you see me, I'm happy to sign your copy ;)

ScoopIt for the new Australian Curriculum

The GTAV (Geography Teachers' Association of Victoria) has created ScoopIt pages for the new Australian Geography Curriculum.
Landscapes are covered in Year 8, and there are some useful links on the page.

Search GTAV on the ScoopIt homepage to find others...

A nice idea for the changing UK curriculum.... 

Monday, 24 June 2013

Ten thousand images

Earlier today posted the ten thousandth picture up on my Flickr page.
Check the sets for plenty of themed sets of images. There are certainly plenty of LANDSCAPE images from various EU countries, and all over the UK.
Images available under Creative Commons non-commercial / attribution license.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Landscape Change game

Thanks to Matt Podbury for the tipoff to this little simulation game.

Create the landscape feature by choosing the agent of change and the timescale
How many can you get to match ?
A nice bit of fun....

Students could research the veracity of the answers, or suggest other agents of landscape change and the impacts that they have...

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Landscape ideas...

Some nice ideas for exploring the rural landscape from FACE.

Some from my GA colleague Paula Owens here.

Go HERE to download your own copy.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Wind Farm lesson

For my new teaching job I had to teach a lesson on the theme of Wind Farm Development.

Fortunately, the department has been using my GA KS3 toolkit 'Look at it this Way'
This book is still available to buy from the GA Shop.

I decided in the time that I had to prepare for my interview lesson, which was very short and ended up being in the early hours of the morning of the day itself, that I would adapt a lesson from the book. Some of the students had apparently been doing some of the activities already, so had a flavour of what to expect.
Here's an image of a wind farm that I took while on my way between home and Sheffield.
I discovered that in terms of the definition of a wind farm, then as few as two wind turbines could be classed as a wind farm for planning purposes, although some local authorities classed it as three. There was no overall definition in terms of numbers.

Wind Farm, Lincolnshire Fens, as seen from the A17
Image by Alan Parkinson

As I had a bit of advance notice of the lesson topic, I was able to ask some of my friends to tell me some words to describe wind turbines, and I was able to create a word cloud.
Word cloud created using

Thanks to those people who helped with the lesson in this way.
And here is the lesson itself.
I uploaded it to Slideshare...

Wind lesson from GeoBlogs

And here's the lesson plan....

Note that this is an interview lesson, so is not necessarily representative of normal practice...
I over-prepared and adapted some of the activities (of which there were too many)

Countryside event at the RGS-IBG

Countryside in crisis? 
Thursday 27 June 2013 7.00 - 8.30pm (registration opens from 6.00pm)
Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR

Environmental risks and hazards like bovine TB, ash dieback and neonicotinoid pesticides are affecting our biodiversity and agriculture. With scientific uncertainty about the impact and scale of these risks, policy-makers face difficult decisions.

Badger culls have been implemented, neonicotinoid pesticides have been banned for their effect on the bee population, and the public are helping spot the early warning signs of Ash Dieback. How can all groups of society input into this decision-making process and is Government getting its policies right and striking a balance between maximising innovation and minimising harm?

The event will be chaired by Tom Heap from BBC Countryfile
Tickets – All welcome
£10 / Free for RGS-IBG Members, school members and Fellows / Book online or by phone 020 7591 3100

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Wind Farm song...

Just listening to this, and an interesting mention for wind turbines....
Nice track too...

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Map of the world's glaciers

Via Jason Sawle.

Map is HERE.
Hold down shift and drag out a box to zoom in...

Thought for the Day

"For as far as our records go back, we have held these two things dear, landscape & memory. Each infuses us with a different kind of life."

Barry Lopez

Friday, 31 May 2013

Glacier on the Move

Lessons 9 and 10 from 'Look at it this Way' focus on upland glaciated landscapes in New Zealand.

This video is a 2 year timelapse from the British Geological Survey's Facebook page of a glacier in Iceland.

The latest timelapse from the BGS Iceland Glacier Observatory shows just how dynamic glaciers really are. This film takes daily noon-time images from one of our automated weather stations, between April 2011 and yesterday, May the 29th 2013. This is the ice flowing through the icefall on Falljökull, the eastern arm of the glacier. Immediately below the icefall we know the ice flows at roughly 50 meters per year, or around 15cm a day, but the icefall itself is faster flowing. We will be conducting research this September to find out just how fast…

Australian landscapes...

The new Australian Curriculum document for Geography was launched in the last few weeks, and there's plenty of LANDSCAPE influences in there.
The support site for the introduction of the new curriculum has now gone live too.
It's called GEOG SPACE.

There's quite an influence from some familiar UK names here, such as this diagram on the 'Child as Geographer' from the work of Simon Catling.

© 2013 Education Services Australia Ltd, except where indicated otherwise. You may copy, distribute
and adapt this material free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes, provided you retain
all copyright notices and acknowledgements.

There are also influences in the SUPPORT UNITS from a range of UK geographers including Fran Martin, Paula Owens, Stephen Scoffham and Liz Taylor.

The SUPPORT UNIT section, in fact, has plenty of LANDSCAPE exemplars.

Delve into the CORE UNITS, and you will find a range of materials for teachers to use straight away and get the curriculum underway...
Here's an activity sheet for a unit on MUSIC FESTIVALS for example (PDF download) which provides a good starter, although I think the Woolvens did a better job here :)

I also liked the unit on E-Waste, and ideas for units about place and coastal management.

For example, here's the New South Wales About Fieldwork website, which was a new one for me.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Landscape Urbanism

There are plenty of intriguing landscape resources out there. I try to point out ones which are relevant to  the geography classroom (of course)
This LANDSCAPE URBANISM article has some interesting ideas and content, tied up in some more academic language, but worth reading.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Changing coastlines

Image from the book 'Boring Postcards', as featured in the GeoLibrary.

Hopton is a resort near Lowestoft.

Over the winter, the fearsome and relentless Easterly winds which we had on the east coast have scoured and stripped away the sand from some beaches in the area.
However, some people suggest that there is another reason for the disappearing sands.

This could become a new alternative to the classic Mappleton case study, and the tale of Sue Earle...

I'm heading over there in the next few weeks to see what the impact of the weather has been
It's a reminder that the coast is an area that undergoes constant change: from the small changes with every tide, to the longer term changes, and the impact of humans.

Save Hopton Beach - has a Twitter feed, where they tweet a range of information relating to the fight to save the beach.

Download the document (PDF) from the Save Hopton Beach website.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

GeoGuessr - a way to explore landscapes...

A mention for a little variation on a site which I like a little more to be honest, called Mapcrunch.

It's become very popular in lots of places over the last week.

GeoGuessr is a 'game' which takes you to 5 'random' places and challenges you to identify where you are.
A map is provided so that you can add a pin at an appropriate place. This action in itself requires a little geographical knowledge...
There is a score provided for how close you are to the actual location.

There's a chance element involved of course, and there are perhaps more clues available in urban areas than there are in rural areas. These involve signs on buses and other vehicles.
For example, one image I was presented with was the Eden project, so I got within 2 kilometres of the actual location - another looked like Australia but was in fact in S. America so I was several thousand kilometres out...
Since the image is a StreetView image, you can also head off in a direction of your choice to look for clues, or you might decide that is cheating and not allow it...

Remember that Streetview doesn't cover the whole globe either, so if a picture looks like it might be in Africa, then it's probably South Africa or Botswana.
This map shows the current coverage.

This Slate article was closer to my thinking about the use of the site - as students use the site, they should be developing ideas for a guide for how to do well on GeoGuessr. These could be put together using an appropriate package (or a paper and pen)

There could be league tables for how well people do perhaps, or set group challenges. Perhaps a 'GeoGuessr' of the week ?
You could also provide options for support that could be used each game (in the vein of 'Who wants to be a Millionaire')
These could include:

  • A Google Search
  • 1 minute to explore beyond the area shown on the original photo
  • The chance to add an extra 1000 points to the final score if the guess proves to be in the wrong continent...
Any other ideas for 'jokers' ?

There could also be a rubric for assessing the clues that are provided in an image...

e.g. Urban or Rural, Weather conditions, presence of snow, upland landscape or lowland, coastal or inland, presence of a distinguishing feature such as a large building, flags, language / typography / alphabet used in signage, advertising billboards, company names on vehicles or stores
More often than not it's a 'feel' that you get - is it European or not ? is the vegetation tropical in appearance ? 

Any other thoughts for using with pupils ?

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Explore....and be paid...

If you have some free time this summer, you could follow in the footsteps of Robert MacFarlane, who has featured in this blog many times...
Visit the Wayfarer website for more details and to enter the competition....

We’re looking for someone who doesn’t mind getting their boots dirty, can string a sentence or two together and can get creative about how they share their journey with the world. You should already know your way around social networks and be able to produce short videos on your own. The winner will become our Wayfarer and will get paid to travel around the UK throughout July and August (so please only enter if you’ll be available all summer). You’ll visit some of the Old Ways paths, but, even better, you’ll strike out on your own and make some new discoveries, on or off the beaten path. You will then report back on your adventures through blog posts, photos, videos and tweets.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Coastal Erosion book

Lovely work by Jason Orton.

A book of photographs on coastal erosion which crumbles away before your eyes....
Is this an idea that could be adapted for use with students ?

Sense of Place

Some films have an amazing 'sense of place', and I've just watched one of them.
Powell and Pressburger have made several other films which are in my all-time-classics list, particularly 'A Canterbury Tale'.
This one is filmed in the Western Isles of Scotland, and is drenched in rainfall and blown by the gales...
Nice work by Roger Livesey...

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Daniel Raven Ellison's TEDx Talk

Teaching about landscape should involve the encouragement of exploration.

Dan Raven Ellison, my friend and Geography Collective / Mission:Explore / Explorer HQ colleague was in Switzerland last month doing a TEDx talk on the theme of exploring...

This is well worth watching... Several ideas to use straight away.... particularly the idea of 'polar exploration'.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Richard Mabey

If students are going to be asked to write about the landscape, they should also be reading widely about the landscape, and the various influences that combine to create it.
One of the authors I've read (and re-read) quite a lot recently is Richard Mabey. He now has a website, with links through to books and other resources.
Worth checking out.

John Muir Trust Mission Booklet

For the last few months we've been working with the amazing folks at the John Muir Trust to put together a booklet of missions which marries the Mission:Explore style of missions to the aims of the trust, which are to encourage young people to experience the landscape, and care for wild places.
John Muir was the father figure of nature conservation, and quotes from him have been included to connect the missions with some of the ideas that he had over a century ago.
The resource is part of the celebrations for the Year of Natural Scotland, 2013

You can get to see the missions on this GRAPHICLY page. It will be available in other locations shortly, and I'll add the links to those as they emerge.

Here's a slide that I've used in many of my presentations...
Get out and about this Easter... and don't forget to take the opportunity to Mission:Explore...

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Oliver Rackham

I've been creating a GeoLibrary this year, with 365 books to be placed on the virtual shelves of the library. Quite a few of them are related to landscape, which is not surprising given my interests. One book that I have just added to the shelves is an important one for anyone teaching about the landscape (which should be everyone of course)

This is a classic book, and has been published in a number of different editions over the years.
It was written in the 1980s.
It explains how the British countryside came about, through a range of processes which in some cases date back hundreds (or even thousands) of years.

This edition is an illustrated version / adaptation which adds some really useful extra images to the text.
The book is framed around a series of walks, which take the walker through some of the processes which shaped the landscape. One of them is at Holme-next-the-Sea in Norfolk, and I have walked that route many times.

There is plenty here on vernacular geography and how it has shaped many of the distinctive areas of the UK.

Saturday, 9 March 2013


This is the first of what will be a number of posts through this year on the subject of Everest.
It is 60 years this year since Hillary and Tenzing reached the summit.
Earlier this week, I was at Shrewsbury School, and mentioned my interest in the possibility that it was Mallory and Irvine who first reached the summit in the 1920s. It turns out the Irvine was involved with the school, and they have a range of items, including letters, photographs, and even Irvine's ice axe, which was found on the slopes of Everest in 1933.

There are various exhibitions of photographs coming out this year too, including one at the OXO building in London, which I shall try to get to when I am in London and nearby, which will be several times this year I imagine...

Good for Mountain Landscapes, which features in Lessons 9 and 10 of the toolkit book, which is still available to buy of course...

More on Everest over the next few months....

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

RGS-IBG Young Geographer of the Year

Each year, the RGS-IBG run a competition in association with Geographical Magazine.
It's called the Young Geographer of the Year Award.

The details have just been announced of this year's competition.

The competition began in 2000 and has become a regular feature in many schools' calendars.
The question for Young Geographer of the Year 2013, run jointly with Geographical, is:

How does either the human or physical geography of your local area compare to the rest of the UK? 

Pupils should use different sources of geographical information and data to research their local area and compare it to the national picture in the UK. This might include using census or climate data, and examining urban change or flood risk. However, the choice is open to you to explore relevant data to your local area.
The competition has categories for Key Stage 2 (KS2), KS3, GCSE and A Level students. 

The Society encourages schools to run their own in-school competition before sending their top entries into the national competition.
We particularly welcome entries which:
  • Can demonstrate a good use of different and relevant data
  • Focus on and explain a small number of geographical features and information about them. We do not need to know everything about your local area and would prefer you to select some key data
  • May also involve first-hand observation in the local area
Entries for the Young Geographer of the Year competition must be received by 5.00pm on the 11 October 2013.

Rex Walford Award 2013 – for student teachers or teaching colleagues new to the classroom

The same question will also form the basis of the accompanying Rex Walford Award, which is for teachers in either their student training year (for example: PGCE, Schools Direct) or who have just started in the classroom (for example: NTQ, Teach First). Entries should include lesson notes or a scheme of work to cover two or three lessons exploring this issue and we particularly welcome entries which include opportunities for data handling and fieldwork. 
Entries for the Rex Walford Award must be received by 5.00pm on the 11 October 2013.

Go to the RGS-IBG website for further information and entry forms...

Monday, 21 January 2013

Icy Landscapes

Made with Tiny Planets iPhone app....
Why not make your own winter landscapes...

Here's Tony Cassidy creating a popular landmark in the snow...

Shard 360

What better way to view the urban landscape... What evidence of the countryside surrounding London can be viewed from the viewing platform ? Thanks to John Lyon via Fred Martin for the tipoff to this excellent 360 PANORAMA created by Will Pearson, who is a professional panorama photographer (another job that wouldn't have existed a few years ago...)

It's taken from the top of the shard (or presumably near the top...) and provides an amazing view of London at dusk.
It's a good ad for the viewing platform which will shortly open in the Shard (which I have blogged about before) - article here about it and the high cost of entry
More here on the VIEW FROM THE SHARD website.
Check the PORTFOLIO on the website for plenty more from around the world too...

I reckon the Shard could do with an experienced geography writer to create some materials to help visitors, particularly school groups. interpret what they are looking at, and how it relates to the development of the city and its hidden geographies (which the view will reveal...)

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

OS Landscape Photo Competition

Here's  a picture I took earlier this morning when I headed out to capture the light on the snow covered fields on the edge of my village.
It's the sort of image which you could possibly enter into a competition which has been announced by the Ordnance Survey.

Here are the competition details from the Ordnance Survey blog

We have an exciting competition for our budding amateur photography enthusiasts, which could put your image firmly on the map!

Cameras at the ready, we are looking for your best colour photographs depicting and celebrating the Great British outdoors in all its glory. There are some fantastic prizes up for grabs, including:
  • the winning photographs featured and published as the OS wallpaper of the month
  • a digital photo album to showcase your favourites photos
  • a 12-month subscription to OS getamap
  • an OS Custom Made map including your winning photograph and featured as a stock image for others to use!
General rules of entry
Photographs should be submitted via email to:
The photograph taken should be in landscape view only. (Note that your photo may be cropped if you win to fit a portrait-style custom-made map cover)
Only digital images can be accepted, these must be in jpg format and in colour.
No photographs of people or animals in close-ups, interiors or places outside of Great Britain.
Photographs can be of any time of the year, not just winter.
A panel of judges will decide the 5 winning photographs - the judge's decision is final.
The closing date for the competition is Thursday 28 February 2013. Entries submitted after this date will not be included.

Image: Alan Parkinson

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Beyond the Mountains

This film: Beyond the Mountains, looks good. It explores our connection with, and the relevance of, the natural world.

Mountains feature in Chapters 9 and 10 of the toolkit book.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Green Belts and OS MapStream

Why is York rubbish at karate ? 
It only has a green belt...

It's the way I tell 'em...

A very useful article in the Daily Telegraph just before Christmas provided a range of ideas related to the GREEN BELT.

There was a very useful INTERACTIVE MAP

Even more useful was a data set for download to GIS files....
Follow the link from the bottom of the article to download a zip file.

These ideas and many others are currently being developed into materials for the OS MapStream service, and will be coming soon to a computer near you...

OS MapFinder App

One of the best ways of exploring a landscape that is either familiar or unfamiliar is to make use of an Ordnance Survey map.  

A new app was launched on the iOS store yesterday which a lot of people are going to find useful.
It's produced by the Ordnance Survey, and called OS MapFinder.

The app comes with a basic high level map of the whole country preloaded, as well as a sample map tile around Exeter - so the folks of Exeter get lucky :)
Further tiles can then be downloaded (for either 69p for 1:50 000 or £2.49 for 1:25 000) as an in-app purchase.

Map tiles can be explored, and routes can be added on and plotted. The app will also store routes which have been walked or cycled.
Places can be found using a search by postcode, name or grid reference.

If you want to see more about the app, there's a YouTube video below which shows you a lot more.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Hobbit forming...

Click to enlarge
Just before Christmas I went to see 'The Hobbit' with my son. I first read this book about 40 years ago, when it was already over 30 years old.
The story is familiar to many I'm sure.
One of the great aspects of Tolkien's writing is the description of the landscape that the characters pass through: particularly the mountains and woodlands. Much has been written elsewhere on this theme, and you should be able to find plenty on the places that provided the inspiration behind Tolkien's work.

And of course it's now available in different formats. My son and I are currently reading it... on the Kindle.

The landscapes in the film were wonderful. I loved the ruins of Dol Guldur. There were a few bits that I didn't like: the introduction of the new villain, the fighting mountains sequence, and Sylvester McCoy being pulled on a sledge by rabbits for comic relief.Gollum's cave was perfect though...

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Watery Landscapes....

It's been a wet and windy few month, and the Christmas period saw some more heavy rainfall and flooding problems. I was grateful to have finished the year's travelling, and spent Christmas at home, going nowhere much for two weeks.

During that time, came the announcement that 2012, after a period of prolonged drought was the wettest since records began in England, and also in my region: the East of England.

The summer was also the wettest for over a century.
It seems the flooding also cost the UK around 13 billion pounds...

There were some good images online and via Twitter of various defences.

The landscape around my village is currently  more water than land in many places. There's a road leading to the nearby village of Beeston called Watery Lane which certainly lived up to its name when I last drove along it.
The result of the prolonged rainfall on saturated ground has been many flood warnings and hundreds of flooded properties, which stayed in place for weeks at a time.

Plenty of news coverage of the flooding

This is all useful for updating the High and Dry presentation which I will be talking about at various places in 2013.
There were plenty of flooding stories out there. Do you have one to share ? Do your students have one to share ?

Just before Christmas, there was yet more rainfall in the SW, with further flooding in Devon and Cornwall. People were evacuated from their homes, and some hand to spend Christmas away from their home, or had presents damaged.
What will 2013 bring in terms of weather extremes ?

One possible sign of the additional extremeness of the weather is that a bridge which  has stood for 1000 years was damaged this year.
There are also problems along the Jurassic coastline with saturated cliffs leading to warnings of landslides and safety fears for fossil hunters in the area.

Landscapes of Power

The title of a nice piece in 'Apollo' magazine, written by James Purdon.
It explores the changes that occured in the landscape when we started to erect pylons to transport electricity around the countryside.
A good read to start 2013's landscape musings...