School of Civil Engineering and Surveying

Field Trips

Exploring our natural and built environment

Some of the most renowned geological locations in the UK are easily accessible from Portsmouth. Our programme of field trips provides our students with the practical knowledge and experience of the kind of site visits made by professional Civil Engineers and Surveyors.

We offer the chance to perform practical evaluations of erosion, coastal protection, slope stability and landslides, witnessing at first-hand the forces of nature against the resilience of natural and man-made structures.

  • This opportunity to visit the coastal protection schemes at Highcliffe in Dorset and Barton-on-Sea in Hampshire examines the different approaches to coastal defence taken by the respective local councils, and the subsequent effect these defences have on the coastline, and viability of the works undertaken.

    During this field trip students get the chance to examine slope stability issues in cliffs made of Barton Beds, sheet piles and Carboniferous limestone rock armour protection.

  • The Isle of Wight is one of the most important geological locations in the UK, known for its range of soil and rock types. Geotechnics staff and students make a series of one-day visits to examine these soils and rocks in-situ. In addition, the south coast of the island is a known landslide-prone area that suffers constant weathering and coastal erosion.

    Locations visited include, Whitecliff Bay to view rocks younger than chalk; Freshwater Bay and Compton Down to views rocks older than chalk; Ventnor, Bonchurch, St Catherines and Niton to look at landsliding in both urban and rural areas.

  • A one-day field trip for Masters level students to examine the disused Meon Valley Railway line that runs from West Meon to Wickham. Although the line was closed in the 1950’s, many of the structures still remain, making it an ideal location to closely examine railway infrastructure without the risks involved with working on a live railway line.

    This field trip looks at the effects of settlement of earth structures after a century, and the stability of Victorian embankment construction in comparison to modern railway infrastructure. The trip covers an evaluation of material issues with regards to both over-bridge and under-bridge maintenance, railway stability, sustainability and infrastructure.

  • A one-day field trip to Swanage and the Isle of Purbeck serves as an opportunity to see the Portland stone; a Jurassic limestone found at the start of the Jurassic coast.

    Other topics covered include slope instability in the Wealden Clays and Sands, the Swanage Bay coastal protection scheme, and economic changes to the area over the past 100 years.

  • Second year Civil Engineering students can choose the optional unit, Fieldwork for Civil Engineers. This is a weeklong residential trip to the National Construction College at Bircham Newton, Norfolk, where students undertake tasks including the setting out of new buildings and highways.

    The trip also includes a tour of the college site highlighting aspects of real construction sites such as tower crane erection, scaffolding, heavy earth moving equipment and onsite health and safety issues.