To enhance the pupil’s knowledge of the local geography of the wonderful area surrounding S. Anselm’s, Year 6 visited the Monsal Trail this week.

Our main focus is on how the Peak District’s dales and valleys were engineered for the construction of the former Midland railway line, which carried freight and passengers for nearly one hundred years. As the line was closed in 1968 and is now a public bridleway, it has made the perfect safe route to investigate the cuttings, embankments, viaduct and tunnels. What better way to see all of this than to hire bikes and helmets and discover the engineering on two wheels?

We will link our work with OS map exploration at school so that the intricate use of symbols can be fully explored and the local area’s physical geography examined from a cartographic perspective. Next on the agenda, we will study why the local railway was closed and we will conclude the project by debating how the route may be sustainably developed for future generations.

The children also conducted a questionnaire about tourism. They were interested to find out where people had come from, where they had parked their car,s and what special features had encouraged the tourists to the Peak Park and use the Monsal Trail. They were amazed to find one respondent had travelled from Hong Kong, although most lived locally. We will be using Excel back at school to graph and help analyse the data collected.

Year 6 were a credit to the school throughout the trip. They managed to cycle without too many incidents, although none of us expected to have to carry our bikes over a fallen tree! They recorded thorough notes and sketches, learned a lot (did you know the limestone in Wyedale is 5 million years old?), and were great company.

Thank you to Ms Whawell and Mr Lloyd for accompanying the children.