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Welcome to the blog of the Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences at the University of Northampton. This will keep you up to date with both student and staff activities.

The Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences includes staff with interests in biological sciences, conservation, ecology, environmental sciences, environmental statistics, geography and waste management. We offer a range of degree programmes and have a number of postgraduate research students. For more information about studying with us please visit http://www.northampton.ac.uk/.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Physical Geography Local Field Visits

As part of the second year Physical Geography Practical module students develop a number of practical field skills. This module has three local field visits including one to Delapre Park in Northampton to carry out a habitat survey, a day trip to Sywell reservoir to learn about surveying and sediment coring, and, most recently, a trip to Eydon Brook to carry out a river survey.

On the 25th March 2014 two minibuses of second year geographers set off from a drizzly Northampton on a field visit to investigate river discharge at Eydon Brook, near its confluence with the River Cherwell. This is an important location, indeed it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, where much work has been carried out by well known geomorphologists.

The aim of the field work was to investigate how river discharge has changed over time, and to think about the reasons behind this. Students worked in groups to collect data allowing them to estimate present day discharge at the site. These data were compared to geomorphological features which represent river discharge in the past.

Surveying skills learnt on a previous field visit to Sywell reservoir were used to survey the cross section of the river as well as the change in elevation that occurred along the river channel. The velocity of the river was measured using two very different techniques. One, the float technique, involved measuring the time it took a small plastic bottle filled with fine gravel to travel 50m in the river. The second, more technical, method involved the use of an electromagnetic current meter to directly record the velocity of the river. Together this information allowed the present day river discharge to be calculated.

Despite the unrelenting rain this was an enjoyable and successful trip with all groups collecting the data they needed to allow them to complete the associated assignment.