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Showing posts from 2023

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

Coastwise in North Norfolk

  One of our local papers had a story on a project called Coastwise. There is more detail on the project here. A video explaining the scheme, which is described as a coastal transition. Over the next 100 years, it is predicted that over 1,000 homes will be lost to erosion in North Norfolk. Erosion will impact whole communities by threatening businesses, roads, footpaths, and utilities such as sewage, water and electricity. It will also affect our wellbeing, beach access and heritage assets such as churches, lighthouses, listed buildings, and much more. The consequences of erosion are profound and require advanced planning to transition to being more prepared. Coastwise will involve working together in North Norfolk to develop nationally useful practical actions, plans and policy, funding and finance options. Action needs to be taken now to explore how local authorities, communities, individuals, and national government can best work together to prepare and plan for coastal erosion. Th

50 years after Tolkien

Still one of the best writtten descriptions of landscape in 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy, and a book I first read aged about 9, and own in a very expensive single volume luxury edition which was a 21st birthday present. Today marks 50 years since the death of legendary writer J.R.R. Tolkien. From dramatic caves, looming towers, and ancient monuments, here are the historical sites in England where you can experience a glimpse of Tolkien's Middle-Earth. ⬇️ — Historic England (@HistoricEngland) September 2, 2023

Thought for the Day

"Once you homogenise a landscape in the way that we see across large parts of central England, you not only lose the wildlife, you rob its inhabitants of the elements that make up their identity. The antiseptic uniformity of many English high streets is part analogue, part consequence of the surrounding countryside's wider sterilisation." From Mark Cocker's review of 'England in Particular' (Common Ground)

Scenery and Soil

You could learn a lot (and still can) from Ladybird books... Other work by the Ladybird artists. ‘How Scenery Reveals the Nature of Soil’ (1949) Artist: SR Badmin — Helen Day (@LBFlyawayhome) June 19, 2023

Lincolnshire Landscapes

A few pieces that would be of interest to those teaching about distinctive Fenland landscapes. This Roger Hill piece from June 2021 visits 'The Fens and their coast' which stretches the usual geographical area. And here's some music to go with the Fens from the classical composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.

North Norfolk's Deep History Coast

I live a short distance away from this wonderful stretch of coast. It's now branded as the Deep History Coast. North Norfolk’s Deep History Coast is 36km of unique coastline from Cart Gap to Weybourne. The rocks beneath this coastline tell the story of the world millions of the years in the past. It’s the story of an ever changing landscape. The landscape that we see today tells us about the environment of years ago. If it wasn’t for the last ice age, some features of the north Norfolk coast wouldn’t be here at all! Our video reveals some amazing facts about this fascinating stretch of coast. Did you know West Runton beach is the richest source of fossils anywhere in the British Isles from the Pleistocene epoch between 12,000 and 2.6m years ago? And that north Norfolk has produced finds so important that there’s even a period named after Cromer – the Cromerian stage? And did you know that the Cromer Shoal Chalk Bed is a rich and diverse eco system of animals and plants that rivals

BBC iPlayer Documentary: Life on the Edge

New on iPlayer as of a few minutes ago is this 27 minute documentary on events at Hemsby on the Norfolk coast. Worth a watch. The residents of Hemsby don't want to leave, but their houses are on the edge of a cliff. This is their story of surving one of the most dramatic cases of UK coastal erosion.

Pathways to Ancient Britain

  Radio 4's 'Costing the Earth' series broadcast a programme on the 18th of April called 'Losing our History'. It featured the Norfolk Coast and the village of Happisburgh.  There are over 400 episodes available. A recent issue of the programme explored the impact of erosion on historical remains. For more on this, visit the Pathways to Ancient Britain (PAB) virtual tour of the area around Happisburgh. There are some particularly important archaeological sites on the coast. This is developed using Google Earth.

Lamb and Landscape

There are a number of foods which have a protected geographical designation of origin status, such as Arbroath Smokies and Parma Ham. Icelandic Lamb has just gone through the process of achieving protected status. In March 2023, this message went up on the website: ‘Íslenskt lambakjöt' is the name given to the meat from pure bred Icelandic lambs, which have been born, raised and slaughtered on the island of Iceland. Sheep farming has a long and rich cultural tradition in Iceland. The characteristics of ‘Íslenskt lambakjöt' first and foremost consists of a high degree of tenderness and gamey taste, due to the fact that lambs roam freely in demarcated wild rangelands and grow in the wild, natural surroundings of Iceland, where they feed on grass and other plants. The long tradition of sheep farming passing down generations on the island has led to high standards of flock management and grazing methods.  One of the best examples of traditional Icelandic cooking is lamb meat soup.

Divergent geographers and mudlarking

  I've been interested in the practice of Mudlarking for some time, down on the Thames foreshore.  Tom Chivers, author of 'London Clay' was a speaker at the conference and read from his book and talked about his PhD that he is completing at Queen Mary University of London. There was plenty of interest here on these new geographies. He described a space which changes as the tide ebbs and flows, which is both private and public, safe and unsafe... he read from his book and current writing linked with his academic research into the practice, including the historical development of the practice. This is a landscape which is temporary and contested, and one which many visitors to London will never experience. If you attended the event you can see a recording of the session. You can also download a copy of Tom's slides. I own a copy of the Field guide to Larking which was written by Lara Maiklem. The session ended with Tom blowing a hawker's whistle that he had unearthed,

Yellowing of the Landscape

Around this time of year, a growing percentage of arable land in the UK starts to turn yellow as the rapeseed comes into flower.  Living where I do, in central Norfolk, there is a lot of it about, in the fields around Dereham, Swaffham, Fakenham and towards Downham Market.  On the way to work each day I pass through Fincham near Downham Market, and the farm and processing plant for Mr Hugh's: a rapeseed oil brand which is sold in local supermarkets. This has now gone national in its availability. It's the one I choose for cooking out of preference. Read the story here. Some years ago now, I added an activity to my KS3 Toolkit book: 'Look at it this Way: what are your views on landscapes?'  This is still available from the GA Shop. The activity was inspired by a newspaper clipping / story on Japanese tourists who were visiting the rape fields on coach trips.

J B Jackson - vernacular geographer

From an appreciation of Barry Lopez's work by Robert MacFarlane came a mention of J. B. (Brinck) Jackson .  He was someone I could not remember hearing about before, although some of his books looked familiar when I looked further: "American vernacular landscape, J.B. Jackson, whose essays and lectures were so influential in dignifying and directing scholarly attention onto gas stations, lawns, woodlots, road-layouts, ballparks, and other everyday human structures as part of “the full imprint of human societies on the landscape,” in Jackson’s phrase. Jackson was a vocal critic of the exclusionary wilderness aesthetic as it existed in much mainstream North American conservation and (dread phrase) “nature writing.” He apparently focussed on writing and research about elements in the landscape that were defiantly prosaic in nature, and were those seen and perhaps overlooked through their ubiquity and ordinariness. He died in 1996, and his obituary was published in the New York

GA Conference Bookclub - Borders

Landscapes are divided by artificial lines. These borders are vital for geographers to study.  The first of what may become an annual book club event is going to take place on the first day of the GA Conference in a month's time. This is part of the changes to the format of the first day, which includes the fact that the conference dinner is included in the delegate fees. I have been asked to lead a discussion around a book and provide some thoughts on how it could be used in the classroom. There will also be an opportunity for you to swap books once again as we repeat the book swap which was originally the idea of Kate Stockings and seemed to work well last year, with many people going away with a new read for the journey home. The book that has been chosen for this first session is:  'The Edge of the Plain' by James Crawford. You can follow James on Twitter here. On a day when Suella Braverman is in Rwanda touring the places where asylum seekers may be housed, when we ha

GA Fieldwork Fortnight 2023

Get out into the landscape on some fieldwork. After the sucess of last year's National Fieldwork Week, the event is back again with some tweaks.  The event was organised by the GA, particularly thanks to the work and energy of Paula Richardson, and formed part of my GA Presidential year. It is now a fortnight - between the 26th June and 7th July 2023. This year's theme is 'Environment'. I'll be heading out - in fact I was discussing a trip with colleagues yesterday - and I hope you will too, and share what you get up to with the hashtag which we'll remind you of nearer the time.

1953 East Coast Floods resource

This got slightly delayed by other factors, but is now available ahead of next week's anniversary and commemorations which will take place along the coasts which were affected. I know there is a service and exhibition in both Snettisham and Hunstanton and aim to visit them this weekend, and then locations further round to the south of Norfolk and the Broads. The Environment Agency - one of the GA's strategic partners -  published a useful image of the flood defences as they were back in 1953 on a Pinterest board and it is shown below. Download the resource below: 1953 Flooding - 70th Anniversary from GeoBlogs More to come on this over the next few days. Look back at the posts from Southwold at the start of January as well for more related content to the floods, or search this blog using the search box top left. There is also an associated Pinterest board. I shall be out and about along the coast this coming weekend in a number of locations and will share some pictures i

Peak District Geology Walk

Happy New Year! The Peak District is one of my favourite places in the world, and one in which I've spent perhaps more time than most other places. Free Geowalk around the Peak District developed by Martin Whitely. A great offering for the New Year. @geoggeol @AGSB_Geology @seis_matters @ESTA_UK @GeolSoc @WGCG_UK @timeforgeog — peteloader (@peteloader1) January 1, 2023 There are 14 sections to the walk which can be downloaded as PDFs or GPX files.