Landscape systems

About this core theme

Through the study of one landscape system chosen from drylands, coastal or glaciated landscapes, this core theme requires students to undertake an integrated study of earth surface processes, landforms and resultant landscapes. The spatial scale in this theme is fundamentally at the local level. However, to encourage students to move beyond the local to global, study is not limited to just the UK. A range of temporal scales must be observed too, such as processes that take millions of years as well as those that take just seconds.

The content is specifically framed within a systems context. Students should study the variety of geomorphological processes and the varying flows of energy and materials operating within a landscape system which combine to create distinctive landforms and landscapes. An understanding of external factors which can affect the system must also be acquired, such as the impact of human activity, climate change or human landscape management. There is also an opportunity for quantitative approaches including developing observation skills, measurement and geo-spatial mapping skills, together with data manipulation and statistical skills applied to field measurement.

Resources to support your teaching

Article bundles

Landscape systems: article bundle (Geography Matters)

This bundle of articles have been written by members of the GA’s Post-16 and HE Phase Committee and published in their annual ‘Geography Matters’ newsletter. These three articles (download contents page) have been selected to support teachers when planning to teach ‘Landscape systems’ for the 2016 A level. The bundle is free for GA members to download.

Landscape systems: journal article bundle (Geography)

This bundle of five articles were published in the journal, Geography, an internationally renowned academic journal which publishes high-level research. These five articles (download contents page) have been selected as they offer subject knowledge for teachers on landscape systems. The bundle is available to buy with substantial discounts for GA members.

Landscape systems: journal article bundle (Teaching Geography)

These articles were published in the journal, Teaching Geography, the GA’s journal for secondary geography teachers. Although some were written for key stage 3 and 4, these five articles (download contents page) offer useful advice and guidance for teaching about landscape systems. The bundle is available to buy with substantial discounts for GA members.


These short videocasts can be used in lessons with students.

The impact of the 2013-14 storms on coastal geomorphology in SW England

During the winter of 2013–14, the southwest coast of England experienced an unprecedented sequence of exceptionally energetic wave conditions, leading to extensive losses of sand from beaches, overwashing of gravel barriers, coastal dune erosion and cliff collapse. In this series of videos, aimed at GCSE, A level and university students, Professor Gerd Masselink discusses the impacts of this stormy period and answers the question: ‘where has our beach gone?’

Geo hazards workshop materials

This workshop, which was delivered during a CPD training course for post-16 geography teachers In 2013, looked into the development of research/study about hazards linked to risk, vulnerability and patterns. The session made use of up-to-date materials created for teachers by Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) UK, drawing upon their work in the field, to help develop the knowledge and skills candidates need to tackle these issues to A level standard.

Surviving hot deserts

Session materials from the 2011 Post-16 National Conference: Excellent teaching, excellent results.

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