Geography & Geology

“Thank you for being so welcoming and making our experience as smooth as possible.”

Luke Branca, Rosebery School

The coastal landscape of Cornwall is a source of great scientific interest and provides an opportunity to immerse students in a truly breathtaking outdoor classroom. Ideal for geography & geology field trips at all levels, St Ives is a great base to explore this part of the UK.

Geography & geology trips to St Ives not only benefit from the town itself, with all its facilities and activites, but also from its location in a truly diverse part of Cornwall. From the granite intrusions at Carn Brae and Land’s End to the examination of tourism on over-stretched eco-systems, St Ives offers students the opportunity to explore a wide variety of themes.

In this section:

Cornwall’s Geology | Geography in Cornwall | Mining in Cornwall | Workshops, talks & seminars | Video: Cornish Mineral Heritage

Cornwall’s Geology

West Cornwall is a fascinating area of British geology on account of its granite batholith; part of the Cornubian Batholith which forms much of the peninsula of SW England. Granite intrustions at Land’s End and Carn Brae provide unique opportunities for geologists to study horizontal and vertical faulting.

Cornwall’s granite is also hot, reaching temperatures of around 200 degrees; in turn this drove the development of the UK’s first commercial geothermal power plant, United Downs in Redruth. Cornwall looks set to become a global player in geothermal power; fast becoming a hub for geological engineering jobs.

The Geevor Tin Mine, United Downs and other sites across West Cornwall have fantastic resources for educational trips and we are happy to invite speakers from various organisations to come and talk to your students at Cohort.

Watch a short introductory video on Cornwall’s geological origins here.

Geography in Cornwall

Whether your focus is physical or human geography, erosion or travel and tourism, St Ives provides the perfect centralised location for students to access investigations, part of current exam board specification such as AQA, WJEC and Edexcel.

Among many other things you can:

  • Examine whether St Ives is a home town or a clone town? Look at the impact of tourism – What are the benefits, opportunities and challenges it presents and how can they be managed?
  • Visit Hayle Towans, a textbook exampe of sand dune succession where, among other things, students can investigate changes in bio-diversity.
  • Explore and critique coastal management systems in Penzance, Marazion and Newlyn; areas which take the curriculum from the page to real life.

Mining in Cornwall

“Two hundred years ago Cornwall’s tin and copper mines were at the heart of the UK’s industrial revolution and this summer Cornwall will again be the nucleus of great global change and advancement.” [Boris Johnson on the choice of Cornwall to host the G7 Summit 2021].

The mineral-rich granite beneath Cornwall contains globally-significant reserves of lithium, a key ingredient in batteries to power electric vehicles; there are also millions of tonnes of copper and tin still underground from when the mines shut in the last century. Visit Heartlands Museum & Heritage Centre to learn the full story of the rise and fall (and rise again) of the Cornish mining industry.

Hayle (just 10 minutes away) was the most important mining port and steam engine manufacturing centre in the world and the Heritage Centre based in the town will bring its journey to life.

From the award-winning institution Geevor Tin Mine through to the raw mining landscapes preserved on the Great Flat Lode there are field investigations and learning opportunities for all levels of study.

Workshops, talks & seminars

A geography and/or geology trip is not only about meeting curriculum objectives; it’s also about bringing the curriculum to life, inspiring students and discovering real-life examples of what they have only read about in books.

[It’s also about giving you guys – trip organisers & teachers – some breathing space].

Take your foot off the (teaching) pedal at the Eden Project, Geevor Tin Mine and Goonhilly Earth Station where experienced learning departments will deliver tours, talks, workshops and lead hands-on investigations.

At Cohort we can organise for local geography teachers to assist you in your fieldwork and deliver evening seminars and presentations on Cornish geography in preparation for your activity the next day.

As Gold Green Tourism Award holders and Plastic-Free champions we would also be delighted to organise for local environmental activists e.g. reps from Surfers Against Sewage or Beach Guardians, to talk to students about sustainability and what they can do on a local and national level.

Geological Origins

In this video Dougal Jerram explains the geological history of SW England placing the important mining industry heritage in context.

Filmed in conjunction with The Cornwall Museum and The Open University.