The prospect of field trips was one of the reasons why I chose to study Environmental Geography at York. They’re a great way to gain experience of working in the outdoors, and certainly make a change from lectures, keeping you motivated throughout your studies.
We recently went on a day trip to various locations, including Pickering quarries, Newtondale and the Hole of Horcum. Read on to discover the activities you could be doing if you choose this degree…
The geography focus of this field trip was on geology and geomorphology, which are key aspects of the module ‘Dynamic Earth’ (my favourite module). BSc Environmental Science also takes this module, so if you’re interested in studying that, you may also get to go on this field trip!
Stop 1: Pickering Quarry
Our first stop was Pickering Quarry, where we did a geological survey of the rock face. This involved deciding what rock type it was (which we did using acid!), measuring the size of the different layers, and looking for fossils.
This means you learn how to create a sedimentary log, which was something I’d never done before, so I learned a new skill.
Stop 2: Newtondale
The next stop was Newtondale, where we did a field sketch of the landscape – artists, it’s your time to shine! I am not an artist (as you can tell from my photo), but it was fun, and allowed you to really appreciate the beautiful view.
Our lecturer explained how the landscape had formed while we drew, which linked the exercise to our studies of geomorphology. I find it really interesting to learn which processes are responsible for the landforms we see.
Stop 3: Hole of Horcum
After walking for a couple of miles (with breaks, don’t worry), we reached the Hole of Horcum. I had no idea what to expect. We came to a valley, and after walking through it our lecturer said we were IN the Hole of Horcum!
We had to deduce how the hole had formed as a link to geomorphology (no spoilers, but it’s to do with water). I was just impressed by the landscape surrounding us; it was incredible.
Nothing could beat the views when we climbed out the valley to the top. Golden hour illuminated the valley in a beautiful light. It was astonishing – the photos really don’t do it justice.
Why I enjoyed it
There were a lot of reasons why I really enjoyed this field trip, unrelated to the practical links to the course. Firstly, it was a great way to get to know people better – you’re walking with your course mates all day, so take the opportunity to talk to them! You’ll be studying alongside them for the next couple of years, so it’s good to make friends.
I also love walking in the countryside, so this was right up my street as we were exploring the Moors all day. Even though it rained (a lot), and it was quite muddy, as long as you’re well-prepared you’ll be fine! It definitely made for a few laughs along the way as well.
The highlight for me was just being able to take in all the views – the scenery is genuinely stunning, so you can get some really awesome pictures. Take as many photos as you can, so you can look back on your field trip with fond memories.
Overall, I had a very positive experience on the field trip, and I am very much looking forward to the next one. Although I have no clue what career I want to do in the future, I would love to work in the outdoors some of the time, and this field trip confirmed that for me.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blog and that you’re looking forward to going on field trips when studying Environmental Geography or Environmental Science at the University of York. They’re fun experiences, and I would definitely recommend making the most of them!
Bye for now,