UK Field Courses

West Penwith

Dates: 14-15 October 2019

Module Convenor: Dr Michael Leyshon

Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that contains some of Britain’s finest coastal scenery, the West Penwith Field Course module provides students studying either geography or environmental science with the opportunity to explore key ideas in their disciplines.

Cornwall is a natural laboratory with an incredible diversity of cultural, ecological and physical landscapes that each have a fascinating and intertwined story to tell. This short-fat module does this by providing training in fieldwork techniques that are fundamental to the degrees in geography and environmental science. This module has two main aims: (1) to provide students with an opportunity to apply the knowledge gained through lecture-based modules to ‘real-world’ situations, and (2), to give students preparatory training in fieldwork techniques. Students are guided by academic staff throughout the field trip. Specifically, they receive instruction in science and social science techniques including, but not limited to, participant observation, sampling strategies and experimental design, which are essential for their future learning in the department.

Kew Gardens

Dates: 24-27 November 2019

Module Convenor:  Dr Ilya Maclean

This residential field course forms part of the Terrestrial Biodiversity and Conservation module and will run in November 2019.  It constitutes a three-day series of presentations, with a focus on using plants to consider the challenges facing conservation biologists at a global scale. The presentations at Kew cover a wealth of material ranging from international conservation legislation (CBD, CITES, the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation), to the threats facing natural habitats throughout the world and how best to tackle them, to practical responses to endangerment including conservation genetics, in situ and ex situ conservation, and opportunities for conservation engagement between commerce, government and local communities. There is ample opportunity to visit the gardens, and students are provided with behind-the-scenes tours of the nurseries and herbarium collection, which includes specimens collected by Charles Darwin.

Isles of Scilly

Dates: June 2020

Module Convenor: Professor Jane Wills

The week-long field trip to the Isles of Scilly is taken by all first year students studying for Geography and Environmental Science degrees and it comes at the end of the first year of study (in late May/early June) each year. We take the ferry from Penzance and camp at Garrison Farm on the edge of Hugh Town, St Mary’s.

The module is designed to provide students with background information about the islands, including physical geography, environmental change, economic, political, social and cultural history, as well as the contemporary challenges to be faced by those living on the islands today. We also practise a range of research skills so that students develop the skills needed to complete independent research activity later on. The Isles of Scilly is an ideal place to try out a range of methodologies used in geomorphological research, climate science and sustainable development.

We always have a great time spending time in a beautiful location, and building a stronger community through working together in the field.


Dates: June 2020

Module Convenor: Dr Andrew McGowan

On this field trip you will visit a number of unique Scottish habitats, including Caledonian Pine remnants in the Cairngorms, upland freshwater habitats, moorland and coastal cliffs. These habitats are host to many species of high conservation priority in the UK, including the red squirrel, common dolphin, otter, osprey, golden eagle, black grouse, black-throated diver. You will visit one of the UKs most impressive seabird breeding colonies with auks, breeding puffins and skuas. While conservation issues will be at the forefront of many of our discussions you will also carry out individual projects at Handa Island (seabird colony) on topics ranging from behavioural thermoregulation to foraging ecology. Furthermore, you will be encouraged to use the fieldwork skills you have attained to enhance your own interests in ecology and conservation and further develop those skills to better equip you to apply them to practical situations in the workplace.

Find out about the degree programmes these students are studying.