Geology fieldtrips

Fieldwork plays an essential role in our Geology degrees and is embedded within most of our modules. The field could be a beach, a mountain, a quarry, a dormant volcano, the Derbyshire Peak District or a Mediterranean island - anywhere that provides a stimulating environment in which to learn about geological processes and observe the products at first hand.

If you are looking for a strongly applied Geology degree, with fieldwork at its heart, then our Geology courses are right for you.

At Derby, we are proud of our field programme, which will enable you to develop strong practical field skills throughout your degree through a combination of residential, overseas residential and day trips. Check out some of the fieldtrips you could go on as a University of Derby Geology student:


Course: BSc (Hons) Geology, Geology (Joint Honours), Environmental Hazards (Joint Honours)

This trip is designed to provide advanced training in the mapping of solid/bedrock geology (particularly recognition of mappable units), to introduce the mapping of drift/superficial deposits, and to develop skills in interpretation and description of the structure and geological history of an area.


Students on residential fieldtrip in Snowdonia


Course: BSc (Hons) Geology, Geology (Joint Honours)

During this trip you will receive training in the description and interpretation of polydeformed metamorphosed rocks in the field. You will learn how to describe and measure minor structures, and how to interpret major structures and time relationships.

Students on residential fieldtrip in Anglesey


Course: BSc (Hons) Geology, Geology (Joint Honours), Environmental Hazards (Joint Honours)

This trip aims to provide an introduction to basic mapping skills, including compass skills, taking structural measurements and placing boundaries. The trip focusses on three Precambrian rock units found within Bradgate Park; The Beacon Hill Formation, Sliding Stone Slump Breccia and The Bradgate Formation. Mapping of these units provides an insight into mapping in the field as well as preparation for the residential trip to Assynt later in the year.

If you’re lucky, and the light is right, you may also see the oldest fossils in the UK and the first fossils to be classified as Precambrian.

For more information on the geology and palaeontology of Bradgate Park please refer to Leicestershire County Council.

Students on residential fieldtrip in Charnwood

Views from the field

Our students and staff have taken to social media to demonstrate what it's really like being out in the field.

That's not all!

Past students have also visited:

Residential trips

Course: BSc (Hons) Geology, Geology (Joint Honours), Environmental Hazards (Joint Honours)

This excursion focuses on a classic area of British geology. You will see some of the oldest rocks in the British Isles, including Archaean and Early Proterozoic gneisses. You will be able to examine undeformed Proterozoic and Early Palaeozoic sediments and see evidence of large thrusts along which slices of crustal rocks have been displaced for considerable distances. As well as providing field experience of an exceptionally wide variety of rock types, relationships and structures, this excursion will provide initial training in geological field mapping in a stunning setting.

Course: BSc (Hons) Geology, Geology (Joint Honours), Environmental Hazards (Joint Honours)

The spectacular volcanic scenery of Tenerife provides an outdoor classroom where you'll learn to recognise and interpret volcanic processes, products and hazards.

Course: BSc (Hons) Geology, Geology (Joint Honours)

The scenic coastal outcrops of West Wales are an excellent venue to introduce you to the processes and products of sedimentary environments from deep marine to continental. You'll acquire skills in recording and interpretation of sedimentological data.

Course: BSc (Hons) Geology, Geology (Joint Honours)

This fieldtrip provides the opportunity to synthesise the breadth of knowledge gained during your degree by looking at an entire mountain belt. You will examine the Pyrenees from their foundations in the Earth’s mantle to the sedimentary basins formed as a consequence of the crustal collision.

Course: BSc (Hons) Geology, Geology (Joint Honours), Environmental Hazards (Joint Honours)

The Pacific Northwest is a spectacular and geologically active region, where we engage in a series of fieldwork-based case studies. By the end of the field trip, you will have an appreciation of the range and scale of geological hazards, where and when they are likely to happen, the impact on human society and aspects of hazards forecasting, management and mitigation. Hazards covered include volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunami, drought, river flooding, coastal hazards and landslides. Highlights include visiting the sites of the 1980 Mount St Helens eruption and earthquake-prone areas of downtown Seattle.

Course: Environmental Hazards (Joint Honours)

Based in the coastal village of Chora Sphakia, southwest Crete, this field class provides the opportunity to apply geographical methods and techniques within a dryland setting relatively untouched by mass tourism and a landscape dominated by the White Mountains (Lefka Ori) and deeply incised river systems that drain into the Libyan Sea. With a strongly emphasis on group-based working, the field course focuses upon five themes:

  1. The geomorphological impacts of extreme floods on river systems
  2. Sea-level change and coastal mass-movements
  3. The mirco-climates of gorge systems
  4. The economic, social and cultural aspects of tourism and rural geography in Crete
  5. Agricultural development

Course: BSc (Hons) Geology, Geology (Joint Honours), Environmental Hazards (Joint Honours)

All BSc (Hons) Geology students undertake a fieldwork-based project, which will include at least 24 full days of fieldwork, to satisfy the requirements of Geological Society accreditation. In order to maximise your potential, you are encouraged to spend a minimum of 5 weeks in the field. Joint honours students are not required to spend the same amount of time in the field, but are encouraged to do so.

Typically you will investigate the geology of a particular area by collecting a significant body of primary data during the field season (including the production of a 1:10,000 geological map). Staff approved project areas will allow you to undertake a project in the geological field of your choice. Project areas are not restricted to the UK. The experience of organizing yourself to work in an unfamiliar area is looked on very favourably by employers.

Single day trips

Course: BSc (Hons) Geology, Geology (Joint Honours)

This trip will help you gain experience of identifying and interpreting rock types, structures and relationships within a sequence of ancient sediments, lavas and pyroclastic rocks that are (in some cases) cut by igneous intrusions. You will also be introduced to methods of field notebook compilation and use of a compass-clinometer.

Course: BSc (Hons) Geology, Geology (Joint Honours), Environmental Hazards (Joint Honours)

During this trip you will visit the site of the British Geological Survey (a public sector organisation responsible for advising the UK government on all aspects of geoscience as well as providing impartial geological advice to industry, academia and the public). You will be shown around the core store – containing over a million rock samples, visit the 3D Visualisation Suite, and will undertake the Geological Walk.

Course: BSc (Hons) Geology, Geology (Joint Honours), Environmental Hazards (Joint Honours)

A visit to the north Derbyshire village of Castleton to examine Carboniferous limestones, their mineralisation and landslips. A highlight is a visit underground to one of the 'blue john' workings.

Course: BSc (Hons) Geology, Geology (Joint Honours), Environmental Hazards (Joint Honours)

This trip aims to provide an introduction to describing, understanding and interpreting sedimentary features and processes in the field. The trip focusses on two very different locations; Bridgenorth and Wenlock edge. You will pull together observations that you make onsite in order to interpret how and why sediments at each of these locations were deposited.  This trip provides basic training that will be built upon during the Assynt residential trip and subsequent sedimentology modules.

For more information on the geology and palaeontology of these locations please refer to UK Fossils Network and Shropshire Rocks.

Course: BSc (Hons) Geology, Geology (Joint Honours)

Mappleton Beach is one of the best places on the North east coast to collect fossils. Rapid erosion of the glacial till cliffs, flanking the beach, release a wealth of fossils each year.  This means that the fossils at Mappleton are erratics; they originated from a variety of environments and time periods, brought to Mappleton during the last ice age. You can find almost anything at Mappleton, however the most common finds are ammonites and belemnites (Jurassic/Cretaceous), Gryphaea (Jurassic) and Corals (Carboniferous).

For more information visit UK Fossils Network.

Course: BSc (Hons) Geology, Geology (Joint Honours)

A visit to Ecton copper mine on the Derbyshire Staffordshire border: a site of 18th and 19th Century mining and the source of the wealth of the Chatsworth estate. You will assess the engineering properties of the rock into which tunnels have been driven, and will also visit the underground workings.

Course: BSc (Hons) Geology, Geology (Joint Honours), Environmental Hazards (Joint Honours)

During this trip you will receive practical training in the different stages of a site investigation from the desk study, initial site walkover, and ground penetration. The field-based drilling exercise will be delivered by a Geotechnical specialist during which you will establish the strength characteristics of the ground, learn how to log to BS5930 and write a factual site investigation report.

Course: BSc (Hons) Geology, Geology (Joint Honours)

This trip provides an opportunity to collect fossils and data that will be used during class in subsequent weeks of the module. The ultimate aim is to use the data to reconstruct the environment around Yaxley during the Jurassic 160 MYA.

The constantly eroding embankments around the now disused quarries at Yaxley are extremely rich in fossils. Dating to the late Jurassic, these Oxford Clay exposures present a wealth of ammonites, Gryphaea, crinoids and trace fossils that form part of an ecosystem trapped in time.

For more information on the locality, please refer to UK Fossils Network.

Course: Environmental Hazards (Joint Honours)

The aim of this visit is show how energy consumption is managed within a large Industrial Organisation, and how renewable energy and efficiency schemes are employed in practice.

Course: BSc (Hons) Geology, Geology (Joint Honours), Environmental Hazards (Joint Honours)

The half-day visit to Beeston and Attenborough provides an opportunity to study two related apscts of the River Trent. First, how people have exploited the river as a resource and second, the risks the river poses to local communities in the form of flooding. Adopting a problem-based learning approach, students work in small groups to collect a range of field evidence tat allows them to answer questions relating to three key themes:

  1. Past and current uses of the river
  2. The nature and impacts of flooding
  3. Approaches taken to manage flooding between Beeston and Attenborough.

This trips takes place within the Water Resource and Hazard module.

Course: BSc (Hons) Geology, Geology (Joint Honours), Environmental Hazards (Joint Honours)

The rugged gritstone uplands of the Peak District provide an opportunity to investigate key geomorphological concepts and processes first hand. On this trip you will learn how to ‘read’ and interpret the landscape, and produce your very own geomorphological map of the area. This trips takes place within the Geomorphology module.

Course: BSc (Hons) Geology, Environmental Hazards (Joint Honours)

During this self-directed trip you will undertake GPS data collection within a local residential area for GIS-based asset mapping and management. This trips takes place within the GIS modules.

Geology students on fieldtrip to Charnwood
Geology students working around a table on fieldtrip to Snowdonia