Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2022

Centre Port - changing the nature of the Wash?

  There have been a number of proposed tidal barrages over the years for the UK. Back in 2008, there was a plan to build a barrage across the Wash, but the plans were abandoned - partly because of the impact on wildlife. Now the plans are back again.... The Rance Estuary in France is an example of how this might look - I visited that many years ago. The Wash is more local, and the EDP had a recent story on a plan for a barrage. This would stretch, apparently, from Hunstanton to Skegness, and would protect the Fens from flood risk as well as leading to the development of a new container port. It would cost £2 billion. Turbines beneath the structure will harness tidal energy from The Wash’s 780km2 tidal area, which is said to be enough to power circa 600,000 homes and businesses in the region. The infrastructure will provide a flood defence for the whole of The Wash area, extending to Peterborough and Cambridge, protecting more than one million people. Lincolnshire Live shared some ot

The Doomsday Glacier

Sea level rise threatens to reshape Britain's landscapes... Register for free to read this piece in the New Yorker. It's a long piece describing a trip to the Thwaites Glacier. You can also listen to the story - it's a 40 minute audio, which might make a good podcast to listen to while commuting.

Iceland trips with Rayburn Tours

Cross posting from the LivingGeography blog.  I spent five days of the first week of my half term in Iceland, exploring the magnificent landscapes of the country.  This introduced me to a couple of new locations which I hadn't visited before - including the car parks and tracks leading to the recent Fagradasfjall lava flows - and also reminded me of a great many that I'd been to previously before the pandemic and I enjoyed experiencing the power of Gullfoss (and the taste of the ice cream at Efstidalur). There had been some changes in tourst infrastructure in familiar locations with others being constructed e.g. a nice new toilet block at Thingvellir for visitors, and new paths etc. I will be working with Rayburn Tours  to lead future tours through 2023 and beyond. I've got a special Iceland blog which will host all the reading and planning I'm doing around these tours, which already hosts the year long 365 blog project which I completed in 2020 (when I was originally

Ice retreat and the emergence of the UK

 Sci A nice visualisation shared in Science. To chart the movements of this ancient ice sheet, geologists assembled scattered clues from the shape of the landscape—features of which were carved by massive glaciers—as well as debris dumped by the ice sheet. For example, researchers pinpointed and dated the edge of the ice sheet by recognizing the hilly terrain made of mud, gravel, and rocks left behind by the retreating ice. Radiocarbon dating of animal remains such as seashells found in these hills revealed when the ice sheet departed from various locations. Over the past few years, a group of about 40 scientists amassed these data to refine the history of what’s known as the British-Irish Ice Sheet. It shows the melting and retreating ice which at one point covered the British Isles. Worth reading the full article and watching the visualisation unfold.

Landscape and Lamb

Some foods are closely linked with the landscapes in which they are created? There is certainly a case to be made for an Edible Landscapes unit focussing on foods with Protected Geographical status. I like the promotion and graphic design on the support for Icelandic lamb, The tagline is good too. I'd go so far as to wear one of those if they were available to buy. The marketing brand book is full of wonderful images of the Icelandic landscape which provides the terroir for this food. And while in Iceland, seek out a bowl of Kjötsúpa!

Landscape inspiration

I take a great deal of pleasure from the images shared by Henry Rothwell. This is a wonderful image by Jane Madgwick.  'Downland Storm', Jane Madgwick, mixed media, 2017. — Henry Rothwell (@HenryRothwell) October 15, 2022

Warning signs

 New signage at Wells-next-the-Sea following a whole range of incidents this last summer...

Geographer's Gaze

  I worked on this project with Peter Fox , another former President for over a year and a half on and off, with several meetings at Solly Street and some other work remotely. Isabel Richardson had done a great deal of preparatory work at Solly Street on the lantern slide collection, which used to number in the tens of thousands. Isabel had been cataloguing the collection. The plan was to make use of a fund generously donated by former Honorary Treasurer Brian Ellis , to bring these images back out into the open, and provide some ideas for their use in the classroom as well as some context. I worked with Peter Fox and we co-wrote the accompanying text for each image on the GA website. The website area is now live, and there is also an article that I have written for the latest GA Magazine. My original version of the text was a little longer than the final version, which we agreed needed to be a bit tighter to increase the instant accessibility of the resource. For those who may want

Home is not a Place

I read this piece in a recent Observer, and was reminded of it today with some tweets from Johny Pitts. It relates to a new book of photography and poetry that he produced with Roger Robinson There is an accompanying exhibition at the Graves Gallery ‘My photographic practice involves trying to celebrate the spaces, capture them while they're still here and give them a home. If not in a literal sense in a figurative sense, for me home is somewhere that you take with you.’ Johny Pitts A book is also available.

Inclusive Fieldwork Guide

One of the best ways to appreciate and study the landscape is to get out into it... The Cultivate Project team have created an engaging website where information can be found about ensuring that fieldwork, including undergraduate fieldwork can be made inclusive and accessible. The guide is available in English and Welsh language versions. #geographyteacher planning #fieldwork this year? Thought about #inclusion & #accessibility ? Want our 10 ways to ... booklet w/simple guidance on making your fieldwork more accessible & inclusive? DM 4 hardcopy or visit 2 download @The_GA Pls RT — Cultivate Project (@InclusiveGeosci) September 7, 2022 The page linked to above then links through to a whole range of useful documents for those who want to ensure that fieldwork is accessible to all... and not just in terms of the more obvious disabilities around mobility. Excellent work by those involved...  

WJEC Blended Learning Resources - plenty on landscapes

There is a wealth of Blended Learning resources on the WJEC / CBAC website. These are excellent and cover a great many topics suitable for 'A' level and GCSE students and also teachers who want to check their subject knowledge ahead of teaching a topic for the first time. They are free, and no account is needed. They follow a similar format to those on the SENECA website. Click BEGIN and work through the resources. Very helpful support from the awarding body.

More rockfalls at Sidmouth

Following a recent post on rockfalls at Sidmouth , there was another one over the weekend. Here's a local newspaper image to use if helpful if covering this case study from the OCR A and B textbooks. Image: Alan Parkinson, and shared under CC license

Aerial Archaeology Mapping Explorer

Thanks to Paul Berry for the tipoff to this website.  It contains a wealth of aerial imagery. The last few months of very dry weather - East Anglia is parched - have also helped archaeologists as parch marks in field reveal often previously unknown structures. The Aerial Archaeology Mapping Explorer contains details of structures which have been identified in the landscape.  Not all of the country is covered - sadly my current village is not featured, but the map screenshot below shows the area around Snettisham, where I lived for 12 years, on the North-West Norfolk shores of the Wash. There was a significant archaeological find in a field just outside the village, which is known as the Torc field for obvious reasons. Just to the NW of the part of the village where I lived is Ken Hill. Wild Ken Hill has been the home of Springwatch and related programmes for several years now. According to the site: New areas will be added to the map as soon as they are completed. New features are

Another Sidmouth cliff fall

Regular readers of the blog will know that I visit Sidmouth each year to visit the cliffs that I featured as a case study in the OCR A and B GCSE Geography books that I wrote (which are now in a 2nd edition, which is excellent). There are regular clif falls and the cliff has retreated substantially over the last few years and the East Beach is closed off to people because of the danger. I was there last week during the Sidmouth Folk Festival (which was back in person once again) and took these images. There is a smartphone mount where you can place your phone and take an image to upload to the website.  I did this to contribute to the citizen science efforts to monitor the retreat of the cliffs. It appears there was yet another cliff fall earlier, which has closed off the beach again. ⚠️ If you're soaking up the sun in #Sidmouth this weekend, please remember that access to East Beach is closed for public safety due to frequent cliff falls. Please take note of signs and follow ad

Fire of Love

This is a film I watched earlier in the week. ★★★★ - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian. Don't miss the explosive Fire of Love. — Dogwoof (@Dogwoof) July 29, 2022 When I first started teaching, there were very few videos which had been made close to volcanoes. Plate Tectonics as a theory was only about twenty years old. The films we did have were mostly made by a couple of French volcanologists: Maurice and Katia Krafft. They were the Jacques Cousteau of volcanoes. He explored the sea, they prowled the edges of lava flows, photographing, filming and sampling. They made frequent media appearances and made films and wrote books to fund their research. The style of filming and the red hats are similar to those of Cousteau ( and the Wes Anderson homage as well ) They divided volcanoes into the red and the grey. The grey volcanoes were the dangerous ones... think Mt. St. Helens, Pinatubo, Nevado del Ruiz and Unzen in Japan. The film is made from media from their archive, with a few animation

Matt Black's American Geography

A cross-posting from my Geography in/on Film blog. Matt Black's 'American Geography' is a film to accompany a project where he explores the poorer parts of the USA. It is a Magnum Photos project. Between 2015 and 2020, Matt Black traveled over 100,000 miles across 46 states. American Geography documents the experiences of those living in some of the poorest communities in the nation. Starting in his hometown in California’s Central Valley, where billions of dollars are generated every year in agricultural output but one-third of the population lives in poverty, he traveled to other areas of “concentrated poverty” – as US census definition of places with a poverty rate of 20 percent or more. What Black found is that rather than being distant anomalies, these communities were rarely more than a two-hour drive apart enabling him to cross the country without ever crossing above the poverty line. There is also a website which has further details on the project including diaries

GeogPod: National Fieldwork Week

One of the best ways to appreciate the landscape is to head out on fieldwork.  The latest GeogPod has been released and it features Paula Richardson and I talking about the GA's National Research Report and how that fed into the development of the National Fieldwork Week.  This starts on Monday the 6th of June. Episode 53 of #GeogPod is now available! In this episode, @GAGeogger speaks with @GeoBlogs and Paula Richardson on fieldwork Listen now at Series 9 of GeogPod is kindly sponsored by @CambridgeInt #geography #nationalfieldworkweek #podcast #education — Geographical Association (@The_GA) June 4, 2022 Thanks to John Lyon for hosting - see if you can spot the question I wasn't expecting... :) 

AQA Pre-release 2022

I was told yesterday that the AQA GCSE pre-release  material for the 2022 summer exam season was based in / or mentioned Ely , so I asked for a copy and discovered that it was based on an application by Amey to add an incinerator to their existing waste management park near Waterbeach / Denny Abbey to the south of Ely, along the A10. The scheme was controversial, although the benefits were clearly stated by the company. A protest group was set up, and commissioned a report on the impact of the proposal, which included mention of the chimney which would be taller than Ely Cathedral and spoil the view towards it from Madingley (a place of geographical significance). Interestingly, for a pre-release where students usually have to weigh up whether a planned development should go ahead, the decision has already been made in that the scheme was .... spoiler alert .... turned down in 2020. I tried to add some local contexts - newspaper articles, campaign group reports, local landscape char

Perec and Psychogeography in Huddersfield

This programme was last broadcast in 2021 , but is being broadcast on Radio 3 again today. You will be able to hear it from tomorrow evening, or perhaps Monday morning. It is presented by Kevin Boniface , a postman based in Huddersfield who has written books on his psychogeographical adventures for uniformbooks. It connects perfectly with my conference theme of Everyday Geographies , and also the work of Georges Perec and his books which look at the infra-ordinary.

Rura - In Praise of Home

This 2018 album from the Scottish folk band RURA is excellent .  The theme for the whole album is home and what it means to people, but it also invokes the Scottish landscape - the wider sense of home for all Scots. The title track and a later track includes some nice sampled reflections on home - the only lyrics on the album. The words are explored here in a nice reflection on their meaning. It's an addictive listen. In Praise of Home by RURA

LitHub: Place is its own story

  I enjoyed this piece by Morgan Thomas . They have explored some changing ways of representing place during their development as a writer. Place in the 21st century is increasingly dynamic. Last year’s “unprecedented” Oregon fire season has been outpaced this year. New York City has seen fifty percent more rainfall during severe storms. Hurricane Ida strengthened from a tropical storm to a category four hurricane faster than hurricanes usually do. Now especially the ability of fiction to accurately render place depends on our understanding of it as a responsive ecosystem. A reflexive insistence that any place in a story that thinks and responds is a character perpetuates narratives of our environment as inanimate, unthinking, unchanging. These narratives have undergirded centuries of environmental degradation and have led to our current climate crisis.

GeogLive! 6 - Cold Landscapes

**** Thanks to all who attended last night's GeogLive. **** The recording is below ***** Thanks to @Shackletonteach @SharonWitt17 @Attention2place for inspiring us ***** Watch now! Feedback welcome! ***** Thanks to the committee who made it happen ***** — Geography Primary / Early Years Committee @The_GA (@EYPPC_GA) January 20, 2022 The U.K has a seasonal, temperate climate, while globally we have extremes.  How can we teach pupils about cold landscapes from EY-KS2? About this event Join us for this two part session on cold landscapes.  Part 1: Emma Kerr, Headteacher, Teaching about Antarctica and the Shackleton Project Part 2: Sharon Witt, Consultant, Exploring local winter landscapes  Chaired by Julia Tanner @EYPPC_GA committee, @The_GA  This free webinar will support conversations about distant places from the U.K, the teaching of geography at cold latitudes and consideration of the people, locations and environments we might find there. This webinar

Clarkson's Farm - planning issue DME

One of the successes of lockdown for Amazon Prime was the show Clarkson's Farm. It showed the difficulties of making a living in farming. Clarkson took over the running of a farm he owned, but had previously had a tenant farmer running it before his retirement. He had owned the 1000 acres in Oxfordshire since 2008 but never had to farm them before. "How difficult could it be".  The filming coincided with lock down, so the show also featured the issues with that for farmers, and the challenge of setting up a new farm shop and dealing with legislation. The show was quite educational, pointing out the logistics and geography of how a field is ploughed so as to leave room for spraying once the crop starts growing... As with Top Gear, a lot of it is apparently pre-scripted and there were set ups for comic effect - the huge Lamborghini tractor that he buys which doesn't work with other equipment as well as it should, and the local handyman who he can't understand becaus

The Forgiving Path

Take a break and watch The Forgiving Path 📽️. Inspired by #SlowWays , this new film by David Mathias features @BrisStepSista , Bertie Burnell, artist @HazelMountford and poet Penny Stapleton. Comment+Share 🐌💫💚 — Slow Ways (@SlowWaysUK) January 7, 2022  Watch it here:

A final collection from the master

A collection of essays by the master: Barry Lopez is coming on May 2022. This will be an essential read. Description from the publishers. An urgent, deeply moving final work of nonfiction from the National Book Award-winning author of Arctic Dreams and Horizon, a literary icon whose writing, fieldwork, and mentorship inspired generations of writers and activists. An ardent steward of the land, fearless traveler, and unrivaled observer of nature and culture, Barry Lopez died after a long illness on Christmas Day 2020, following a summer wildfire that consumed much of what was dear to him in his home place and the community around it--a tragic reminder of the climate change of which he'd long warned. At once a cri de coeur and a memoir of both pain and wonder, this remarkable collection of essays adds indelibly to Lopez's legacy, and includes previously unpublished works, some written in the months before his death. They unspool memories both personal and political, among them t

Radical Landscapes at Tate Liverpool during 2022

I look forward to catching up with this exhibition at Tate Liverpool, which runs from May to September 2022. From the Tate Liverpool website: Radical Landscapes, a major exhibition exploring our connections to the rural landscapes of Britain. Featuring works such as Ruth Ewan’s Back to the Fields 2015, an installation of live plants, and Jeremy Deller’s green neon Cerne Abbas sculpture , this show expands on the traditional, picturesque portrayals of the landscape, presenting art that reflects the diversity of Britain’s landscape and communities. Discover playful and political artworks which reveal untold histories from the last century and investigate themes such as trespass, land use and the climate emergency. Encounter over 150 works including key pieces such as Tacita Dean’s Majesty 2006, Oceans Apart 1989 by Ingrid Pollard and Anwar Jalal Shemza’s Apple Tree 1962. Radical Landscapes presents rural spaces as sites of artistic inspiration and action, and a heartland for ideas of fre