27th June 2024 Adam Hartland

Fresh Air, Fieldwork and Friendship in Somerset.

On Wednesday 19 June, Year 9 and 10 students headed to sunny Somerset for three days of field studies.

The group of students, accompanied by five members of staff, stayed at the Nettlecombe Court field studies centre on the eastern edge of Exmoor National Park. Year 9 students focused primarily on completing the required practical work for their biology iGCSE. They also spent a day in Minehead considering the increasing importance of protecting our coastline. Year 10 geographers completed their compulsory GCSE fieldwork, investigating social inequality in Taunton, and examining the impact of coastal processes in Minehead. On the Thursday evening, everyone took a well-earned break from their studies, enjoying a summer solstice celebration around the campfire!

Year 9 students Shivon, Ania and Amy share some highlights from the trip…


This trip was a very enjoyable experience. The Year 9s mainly focused on biology, specifically ecology. After our arrival, we worked on mown and grazed fields using quadrats to find out where there was higher biodiversity. We placed a quadrat using random co-ordinates and calculated the percentage cover. This process was repeated multiple times to achieve a fair test. Once the experiment was completed, a mean was calculated and used to compare our results – the mown and grazed areas were relatively similar in terms of biodiversity, with mown grass having a slightly larger biodiversity. On the final day, we walked to a meander, where we investigated biodiversity using kick samples. Kick sampling is a method using a net, tray and identification sheet. We all chose areas in the river such as riffraff or pools and placed our nets there. We gently kicked the bottom of the river to bring the species to the surface. Next, we emptied our nets into water-filled trays and used our sheets to identify what species were present in the contrasting areas. Overall, we solidified our knowledge of ecology, all while bonding with classmates and making the best of memories.


On the second day, both Year 9 and 10 went to Minehead to study coastal defences and different techniques of measuring their effectiveness. The Year 9s who have chosen to study geography for GCSE split off from the rest of the year and joined the Year 10 group, which allowed us the opportunity to try out real GCSE fieldwork. First, we used a clinometer to measure the incline of the beach on either side of a groyne to see the difference in sediment, before having a break for lunch around Minehead. After lunch we took a walk along the sea wall and counted the number of buildings on the sea front and then used that information in our cost-benefit analysis. Finally, we did a field sketch of the bay, which looked across the Bristol Channel to Wales, and a bipolar analysis of the sea defences before getting onto the coach and heading back to Nettlecombe.


I loved the trip as it brought our whole year closer together through the activities, free time and dorms. We bonded in our activity groups and also in our own time as we were socialising with new people and forming new friendships. As there was a big open space outside, we found

ourselves playing rounders in the garden as a whole year. On the second day, when we went to the beach, we split into two groups and worked with new people. We loved the day at the beach – especially the ice cream! My favourite memories were when we all went up and sat on the big hill or played a game in the garden; it got everyone involved and was a way to make new connections. I made so many friendships and memories that I will never forget.

The Kingsley School