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Living Geography: Marston Vale

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Reclaiming a Derelict Rural Landscape via Community Forests: A Case Study of the Forest of Marston Vale

  • What are Community Forests?
  • Where is the Forest of Marston Vale?
  • How do rural landscapes become derelict?
  • What is the legacy of past human intervention?
  • How can Woodland promote a sustainable environment?
  • What developments are sustainable?

The aim of this unit of work is to get students to make decisions about whether they feel that creating new forests has a role in reclaiming damaged landscapes and whether the proposals for the Marston Vale area are sustainable.

The key to understanding this work is that there are different interpretations of what is meant by ‘sustainable development’ and that the definitions do not necessarily match.

The work investigates real development proposals for the Forest of Marston Vale between Bedford & Milton Keynes. This is an area where the primary resource is becoming exhausted. Students take on the role of a planning officer in a decision making exercise to investigate up to four proposed developments in the Marston Vale area and decide whether they are sustainable and should be allowed to be developed.

The work is aimed at Key Stage 3 students, but is differentiated in to work for foundation and higher levels.

Resource downloads

All resources for this Exercise can be download below.

Map Co-ordinates

Use Google Earth to find aerial photographs of the locations mentioned within this activity:

  • Kempston Wood: N52:06:45 W0:32:54
  • Buttons Ramsey: N52:06:34 W0:31:57
  • Forest Centre: N52:03:56 W0:32:07
  • Brickworks: N52:04:46 W0:29:54 & N52:04:24 W0:31:03
  • Landfill sites: N52:06:09 W0:28:33
  • Warren Wood / Center Parcs: N52:01:21 W0:32:39
  • Elstow Storage Depot / Wixams: N52:05:17 W0:28:34

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