Castleton was the destination for our Year 8 Geographers to investigate the benefits and problems of tourism in the Peak District National Park.  To assess this question with depth, the pupils set out to collect their own primary data, which will form the basis of a written project which is sent to their future senior schools, including our own college here at S. Anselm’s.

The first stop was at the end of the remaining flat section of ‘Broken Road’, where everyone alighted from the minibuses and made their way across a diagonal pathway which reaches Hollins Cross.  A footpath survey was undertaken with pupils working in small groups to record the cross-sections of footpaths and the erosion caused by ramblers and mountain bikers, as well as some rill erosion caused by the high rainfall experienced at this this spot.  In total, the groups surveyed three parts of this track to consider the differences between the managed and unmanaged paths.

It was a great start to the day, with the year group working diligently and the impacts of tourism being so visible.

Next, our geographers headed into Castleton itself to conduct traffic and pedestrian counts. Here, lined up (and with social distancing carefully observed), passing vehicles and pedestrians were tallied in both directions.  This survey helped to quantify how busy the main street was and allowed the collection of raw data.

In previous years, pupils have carried out a questionnaire, but with the present Covid context, the decision was taken to use data collected by last year’s Year 8, to limit unnecessary personal contact.  A shopping survey had been planned for the visit, but on discovering the narrow pavements were so busy with tourists, it was decided that that better option was to complete this element of the project by using street views and Digimaps (the digital arm of Ordnance survey), back in the S. Anselm’s Innovation Centre.

Year 8 conducted themselves wonderfully, the weather was beautiful and all the teachers involved were impressed with the accuracy of the data collection.  Pupils are now well prepared to continue their work back in school and to write up their findings.