River Study

Dartmoor and River Lemon Trip

As part of this term’s work on the theme, ‘Misty Mountain, Winding River’, the Key Stage 2 children went on a Geography field trip to Hay Tor on Dartmoor. There, they applied what they had learned in the classroom about 6-figure grid references and compass points and used a map and compass to navigate their way in a circle, following instructions. The children were able to experience what it felt like to walk up to a high point and survey the surroundings. Linking to their Science work earlier in the term about rocks, soils and fossils, they learned more about how the granite rock underlying Dartmoor was formed and how the weathering of the ice ages formed the tors that are such a feature of the landscape. They navigated their way to the Hay Tor quarry and learned that granite from that very quarry had been used to build Nelson’s Column and Tower Bridge in London. They enjoyed exploring the wildlife in the quarry, where they saw newts, dragonflies, butterflies and fish.

The children then found their way to the source of the River Lemon at the base of Hay Tor, where they noticed that the ground was wetter, the vegetation was greener and more dense and many of the animals on the moor had come to find water, including some Dartmoor ponies, sheep and cows. The children were able to see the water coming from the ground and forming into rivulets and gradually becoming a small stream that disappeared underground by the road.

After stopping for some lunch, the group travelled on to walk along the River Lemon further along its course, close to Newton Abbot. Here, they were able to observe the signs of erosion (especially where the water flowed fasted on the outside of a meander) and deposition (on the inside of a bend where the water flowed more slowly. Having observed, photographed and sketched the river at this point, the final stop on the tour took the children to a bridge on the other side of Newton Abbot, from where they could see the confluence of the River Lemon with the River Teign. They noticed much deeper and wider the river became and observed the changes in the river banks and channel. Following the trip, the children have begun to make their own presentations about the River Lemon, using photographs and observations from the trip as well as their research from the Internet.