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Field visit to North Wales

In this blog post, second year student Lois Body gives an overview of what Geography & Natural Hazard Management students can expect from their day-long field course to the North Wales coast to explore the physical and social resilience measures in place to reduce flood risk. 

“Our recent fieldwork was to North Wales looking at physical and social resilience to flooding in Rhyl, Kinmel Bay and Sandy Cove. To find out more about the community's resilience to flooding we talked to local residents who completed a questionnaire to evaluate how vulnerable the local people consider themselves to be to flooding.

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Students chatting with industry expert
Photo credit: Jon Lingwood
This was a great opportunity to communicate with local people and understand their views on who is responsible for flood defences in their homes and the type of flooding they think is the biggest threat to their homes. This gave a valuable insight into flooding in this area and flooding that has happened in the past. 

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Landscape photograph of Rhyl
Photo credit: Lois Body
To explore physical resilience, we had the chance to talk to Mike Wellington from Waterco about the existing sea defences in these areas and the engineering and planning behind the sea defences. I found this particularly interesting as we could see the defences for ourselves and how they are working to protect the community.  

We looked at flood resilient houses that were built and modified in Kinmel Bay and how changes can be made in the home to be more resilient to flooding. Again, seeing these for ourselves helped us to engage in the future assignment and form our own opinion on the issue.

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Students at Rhyl
Photo credit: Jon Lingwood
Field course leader Dr Katharine Welsh said, “This is a really useful opportunity for students to see flood defence measures first-hand. We were fortunate enough to visit both a flood defence scheme under construction and a recently completed scheme. Students were guided around the sites by industry experts from Waterco and Balfour Beatty to get a real sense of how physical resilience measures are implemented and used to help protect communities. Students were then able to speak to local residents about their experiences of living in a flood prone environment, both gaining knowledge of the hazard and developing their communication skills. We are grateful to have such great connections with industry experts and local communities so that students can be exposed to these real-world environments”.  

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