Case Study: Lake District

Date Posted: 26/07/2014

Case study: Pooley Bridge, Ullswater, Lake District
School: Holy Trinity CE Primary School, Rochdale, Lancashire
Number of pupils: 24
Key Stage: 2

The scenic backdrop of the Lake District has proved to be an inspiring choice for a Rochdale school. What began six years ago as a one day visit has been extended to provide the blueprint for an annual camping trip as well a shared experience with pupils from a nearby school.

Holy Trinity CE Primary School in Littleborough regularly visits Pooley Bridge for the field work opportunities the location provides. The sleepy tourist village becomes a hive of activity whilst students complete Geography activities in the village and surrounding areas.

Jenna Bradford, KS2 leader, Year 6 teacher and arts and numeracy co-ordinator, said: “When the annual trip was established, the Year 6 children experienced a single day in Pooley Bridge. An early morning get up was followed by a two-hour coach journey to the Lake District. The class would be split into three groups, each responsible for carrying out different tasks.

“One group would hike up Dunmallard Hill, using measuring equipment to work out the ages of trees or discovering the types of trees using leaf identification kits. The second group would measure the width of the river and the depth of the water at different points across the river bed. Back at school, this would allow them to create river profiles on the digital slates. Whilst the children were in the river, they could measure the velocity of the river flow.”

Meanwhile, the third group carry out village surveys and complete a quiz, with prizes for the most accurate answers.

Jenna continues: “The highlight of the day was taking the steamer across Lake Ullswater from Pooley Bridge to Glenridding, where the coach would be waiting to take us home.”

After two visits Holy Trinity decided it could share some of the activities with other school groups.

Sharing activities with other school groups

“Teachers met beforehand to discuss planned activities and any changes required to meet the needs of children from both schools,” explained Jenna. “The combined days were a great success and allowed our children to meet and engage with those from different schools. It also helped further develop the activities that we use and allowed us to adapt our provision.”

As a result, a two day extended visit was introduced in 2012. A coach was no longer required as two members of staff had been trained to drive a minibus. Tents and camping equipment was purchased by the school and pupils headed to Park Foot Campsite in Pooley Bridge.

“The ideal location meant pupils could experience the usual field work activities with only a short lakeside walk back to the campsite,” said Jenna. “Prior to visiting, children and teachers practised raising tents on the school sports field - this was certainly a new experience for most of the children.

“Unfortunately for our first camping visit the weather was not on our side. Soggy tents and muddy boots made the visit a little more problematic. Staff rallied around ensuring the tents were all watertight and the children all tried their very best to make the most of the activities. The campsite allowed us to use the stove in the canopied area, which made cooking our tea a lot easier and the excellent facilities ensured that fun was had by all.

“The children piled into the games room for an evening of air hockey, table football and the like. If the weather had been better we would have been able to play tennis on the available courts or football on the field.”

Last year the weather was on side, and the trip included a visit to nearby Aira Force waterfall and a hike up Hallin Fell.

“The natural beauty of the Lake District is remarkable, and children and adults alike wonder at the differences in the landscape between Rochdale and Ullswater,” said Jenna. “Pooley Bridge and Ullswater are fantastic resources for schools, providing endless opportunities for the development of Geography skills in a real life context.”

Useful contacts:

Park Foot Caravan and Camping Park:

Ullswater Steamers:

School Travel Organiser's Guide