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Field Studies

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Skern Lodge has been bringing people outdoors since 1976. Throughout that time we have been committed to the highest standards across all of our provision, whether it be activities or hospitality. Our 22 acre site sits a short walk away from the tidal waters of the Torridge estuary, on the beautiful North Devon coast.

Geography Field Studies

Skern Lodge provides tailor made Geography Fieldwork and Environmental Education courses in North Devon. Our day and residential courses are always designed to best meet the needs of visiting staff and students, from KS2 through to KS5 and beyond.

Our centre is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty nearby several Sites of Special Scientific Interest, all of which are within the internationally recognised UNESCO North Devon Biosphere Reserve. Our fieldwork sites are generous resources for visiting students to study for their investigations, or enhance their understanding of key concepts and processes.

Locations and learning outcomes can include traversing across the wave cut platform at the Hartland peninsular, recording sediment patterns at Pebble Ridge, exploring the diversity of sand dune ecosystems at Braunton Burrows, studying fluvial processes at the River Torridge, or investigating the similarities and differences of Bideford and Barnstaple town.

A Warm Welcome to Skern Lodge

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The centre has a variety of well equipped classrooms available for theoretical study; additionally there is a wide range of field equipment to make the most of the practical experiences.  All you need to bring is your students - we will provide the rest!

The centre has a number of laptops and desktops, where students have access to data handling software and word processing.  Statistical analysis is included whenever relevant and the centre has access to a large range of background material.

As an outdoor centre we are also able to offer the opportunity for an activity session during your stay, from dry activities such as climbing and high ropes to not so dry surfing and kayaking!

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We are aware syllabuses are constantly changing with new focus and topics being introduced and as such so are the courses we offer; if you don't see a topic on offer or would like a particular focus for your group please contact us with your arrangements.

We can provide courses for all syllabuses and are constantly revising and introducing new topics to keep our courses current.

You're in safe hands

As a recognised and respected Outdoor Centre our prime consideration has always been the safety of our clients.  All our sites have been carefully risk assessed and where necessary the appropriate precautions have been put in place to ensure we exceed our health and safety requirements.

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Safety Matters

We are licensed by the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority to provide specific activities under the following headings: Watersports, Climbing, and Trekking.  Further details can be obtained from our office and confirmed by the authority. 

Trained and Qualified Staff

Each member of staff is fully trained and qualified to safely lead the activities that they instruct. 

Superb Equipment

All of our kit is modern and maintained to the highest standard.  You only need to bring personal clothing, we take care of the rest.

The Residential Experience

Groups staying overnight can rest easy knowing that there is still support outside of session time. Throughout the evening the Duty Instructor remains on call to offer help when needed.

Domestic areas are inspected and maintained to a high standard, and vehicles are serviced regularly.  Our catering team ensure that everyone staying on site has nutritious and tasty meals to look forward to.

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Programmes can include the investigation of various habitats from the marine environment to the diversity on a sand dune system.

The local area can be explored by looking at the environment and historical changes that have taken place and the geographical process and patterns that have shaped North Devon.

Our primary Key Stage programmes can also be combined with our adventurous activities to create a hybrid programme to enhance the learning experience.  These programmes can develop both your children's educational needs and also their personal and social development.

Please contact us for further information and to discuss the opportunities to suit your requirements.


Our day and residential programmes for Key Stages 1 & 2 offer students a chance to explore and understand the environment around them.  This could be from adaptations on the rocky shore to formations on the dramatic landscapes of Dartmoor National Park.

These programmes are designed after consideration of your particular groups' requirements ensuring your students' curriculum needs as well as their curiosity are met.

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Primary - Sample Field Studies Programme






Games and

Explore at Northam Burrows nature reserve

Orienteering and Scavenger Hunt


Habitat study at Braunton Burrows sand dunes

Fieldwork Planning and Swim


Settlement study at Bideford town

River Raft on the Torridge

Sensory Games and Tunnels


Rocky shore explore at Hartland Bay

Shelter Build and Campfire


Crabbing at Appledore seaside


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The residential experience not only provides a programme that feeds their educational needs, but also their personal and social development. Inspiring many to continue their studies in geography onto GCSE and beyond.

Detailed course content and programmes are decided in conjunction with visiting staff to ensure that all your requirements are met. Please contact us for further information.


Our residential programmes for Key Stage 3 offer students an insight and understanding of a number of geographical and environmental principles.  Combining both physical and human geography, students could undertake studies in hydrology, coastal zone processes and geomorphology, sand dunes, salt marsh ecosystems, rocky shore, rural and urban settlements, rebranding and rural diversification and crowded coasts.

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Secondary - Sample Field Studies Programme






Crabbing at

Appledore quay

Orienteering exercise


Surfing at Westward Ho! beach

Longshore drift study at Pebble Ridge

Swimming and

Project Planning


Settlement study at Bideford town

River Kayak on the Torridge

Team Games


Rocky shore explore at Hartland Bay

Shelter Build and Campfire


Wide games at Northam Burrows nature reserve


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With a five day residential the opportunity to add in some activities into your schedule not only help to reinforce the learning but provide an additional benefit of increasing personal and social development opportunities.

Detailed course content and programmes are decided in conjunction with visiting staff to ensure that all your requirements are met. Please contact us for further information.

Secondary GCSE

Our Key Stage 4 programmes are delivered by our highly trained, specialist tutors and designed to meet the needs of your school and the curriculum.

We will tailor your studies to suit your individual exam board specification, including AQA, Edexcel and OCR.  We can design your studies to assist with one or both of the two days of compulsory fieldwork as well as studies to support classroom learning.

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Secondary GCSE- Sample Field Studies Programme







Orienteering exercise at Northam Burrows 


Surfing at Westward Ho! beach

Longshore drift study at Pebble Ridge

Data analysis and Methods


Settlement study at Bideford town

River Kayak on the Torridge

Fieldwork presentations and Swimming


Coastal Traverse at Hartland Bay

Team Quiz


Rivers study at Farley Water


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A level

Whether you are looking to enhance your students' fieldwork techniques or to cover specific topics, Skern Lodge can offer the ideal course for you.

Experienced staff lead the course with the content tailored to the individual group and syllabus requirements.

Our tutors can deliver all aspects of the course and support students through their investigations as they develop thier own hypotheses and strategies for enquiry.

We have a comprehensive collection of handouts and secondary data specifically selected for the topics studied at Skern Lodge.  We welcome any enquiry and hope that we can build a course that exceeds your expectations for a residential field trip.

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A level - Sample Field Studies Programme






Pilot studies at Northam Burrows and Appledore

Methodologies and Sampling Strategies


Habitat study at Braunton Burrows sand dunes

Data Analysis and Presentation


Westward Ho! beach and Pebble Ridge

Statistical Tests and Evaluation


Carbon study at Brownsham Woods

Research and Literature Review


Bideford and Barnstaple town study


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Focused and appropriate support

With careful coaching and facilitiation the Skern Tutors will enable students to conduct their own independent investigation.  Students will be able to collect, analyse and review data, be able to frame geographical questions and apply their understanding to the world around them.

Skern Lodge independent investigation fieldwork programmes provide opportunities to examine both physical and human processes and examine how human - environment interactions impact on our world.  Students can choose from a range of fieldwork locations to design, research and present their data.

A level - Independent Investigation

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Pilot studies

Research and Literature Review


Methodologies and Sampling Strategy

 Logistics Meeting

Student Fieldwork

Methods and Data Analysis


Student Fieldwork

Data Presentation and Statistics


Student Fieldwork



Action Planning


A level - Independent Investigation Sample Programme

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Accommodation & facilities

Skern Lodge operates from a converted 18th Century farm with the addition of many new buildings and modern facilities. The Lodge is a comfortable and practical centre and our accommodation reflects this. Comfy beds, full central heating, drying rooms and plenty of showers.

Central to this is our dining room providing all your healthy and carefully prepared meals. Several lounges, a shop, bar, 22 acres of grounds and a heated outdoor pool complete the complex.

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CateringThe dining facility seating 110 is at the heart of the centre, doing justice to our excellent catering.  We take great pride in providing (probably!) the best food in our industry - great variety, fresh, local options and served by an outstanding team with care and good humour.  All dietary requirements can be catered for and there are plenty of healthy options.We are prepared for all allergies and dietary concerns.Menus and meal times are tailored to the clients staying with us each week.  Our catering team will ensure you won't go hungry.

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We cater for all dietary needsOur menus will state if it contains any allergens or intolerances. We have a selection of free from alternatives available at all meal times.Fresh fruit, filtered water and squashes are available at all meal times.

Special occasions

We can cater for any occasion if you want something a little different please ask our catering team

Plastic free

We use a selection of compostable disposables which are more sustainable.


We aim for our suppliers to be as local as possible.  This goes towards our environmental goals and provides support to the local economy.We use West Country Pork, Devon & Cornwall Prime Beef and all of our chicken is British & Halal.

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Sample breakfast menu

English Breakfast

Selection of Kellogg's cereals

Selection of freshly baked breads with preserves

Fresh fruit & local farm yogurts

Cooked breakfast including:

Grilled bacon

West country pork sausages

Baked beans

Fried or scrambled egg

Vegetarian sausages

Grilled tomato


Freshly brewed tea, coffee and fruit teas

Continental Breakfast

Served once a week includes:

Warm croissants

Pancakes & syrup

Selection of cold meats and cheeses

Selection of freshly baked muffins and pastries


Scrambled eggs


Fresh fruit platter

Home made granola

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Sample lunch menu

Packed Lunch

A selection of fresh & healthy filled rolls, wraps & baguettes

A selection of snacks that may include:

Crisps, mini cheddars, dried fruit, cereal bar, flapjack, biscuits, muffins or shortbread.

Fresh fruit

Hot lunches

Sausage and tomato pasta


Macaroni cheese with French bread pizza & salad

Lemon drizzle cake


Bacon & cheese or roasted vegetables & tomato pastry twists with potato wedges & salad

Home made cookie

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Our dinner menu changes daily and usually consists of:

Main Course

A choice of 4 healthy main dishes including 2 vegetarian and 1 fish dish daily; to accompany dinners, we offer vegetables and potatoes and an extensive freshly prepared salad bar.

We use British halal chicken, Devon & Cornwall prime beef and West Country pork and lamb; our dairy and cheese are local where possible.

We often have a Thursday night Carvery with our delicious Devon cream tea and barbecues in the summer months.


Dessert of the day which may include apple and summer fruit crumble, steamed treacle sponge and custard or waffles and ice cream.

Selection of fresh fruit.

West Country cheeseboard and biscuits.

Freshly brewed tea, coffee & fruit tea.

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Making your job easier  

We have been providing geography field courses for schools for over 10 years.  Our friendly office staff will help you at all stages of your booking and in preparation for your course.

Our Teacher/Leader zone on our website gives you access to all the information you need to organise your trip, including insurance documents, risk assessments and lots more.  We welcome inspection and preview visits. Please phone to make arrangements. 

Free places for accompanying staff - please get in touch to discuss.

Our aim - excellence in courses and services - is made easier to achieve because the full Skern staff team is on-site with you at the Lodge.  On your arrival, one of our staff team is allocated to be your Course Director, co-ordinating all aspects of the course with you.  The full management team are available on-site to ensure everything runs smoothly and to help with any problems. 

There is plenty of space for games in free-time, boundaries are clear, accommodation is easy to supervise and there is 24 hour duty cover.

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Combine a range of activities with your field work days and bring geological processes to life.  What better way to understanding longshore drift, by becoming part of the physical process by riding the waves in the surf at Westward Ho! or looking a velocity whilst kayaking down the River Torridge.

For these or any other course get in touch to find out more: 01237 475992

Skern Hybrid Programmes - combine fieldwork with activities

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Where we are?



Skern Lodge



North Devon

EX39 1NG

(01237) 475992


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