Gruffalo Hunting in Cornwall

ScreenHunter_01 Jun. 24 16.30

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I am really pleased that my Grandson has started to develop a genuine interest in the outdoors. While on a recent holiday in Cornwall, I was able to take him Gruffalo Hunting, and combine a great woodland walk with some fun technology.

 ScreenHunter_04 Jun. 24 16.31The Forestry Commission has established a number of ‘Gruffalo Spotters Trails’ in its forests and woodlands across the whole of the UK, and these can be found on a map on the web site listed at the end of this blog. The trails are interactive, and allow you to follow a series of clues to help you track down different characters from the Gruffalo books.


ScreenHunter_03 Jun. 24 16.31A footprint marker is found at the location of each individual character, and this is where the technology comes into play. After downloading a free augmented reality  Gruffalo Spotter app onto your smart phone before you visit, you can now point your camera at these marker signs and bring the different characters to life.





Photo 26-05-2017, 11 51 24My Grandson knew the story and all of the characters, and the excitement built up as we worked towards the Gruffalo footprints at the end of the walk. All of the family had fun with the augmented reality images, finding it strange being photographed next to the sign boards and then seeing the results of themselves alongside the characters in the photographs taken!


ScreenHunter_05 Jun. 24 16.32We visited the beautiful Cardinham Woods, near Bodmin, where there is a good choice of walks of different lengths – as well as bike trails, forest school camps, and an excellent café. 





ScreenHunter_02 Jun. 24 16.30Before we started we purchased (for £3) a Spotters Activity Kit in the café at the trailhead. This allowed Grandson Luke to take on the role of a real ‘nature detective’, using the evidence bags, activity cards, magnifying glass, ruler, pencil and stickers along the route.



I also downloaded the Forestry Commission’s ‘Sensory Trail’ PDF (available below) to take along with me. This is full of tasks, questions and ideas to help get youngsters to think a little more about the woodland environment they are walking through, and use their senses to explore its contents.

Sensory Trail:  PhoneTrail_sensory_adventure_2016

To find out more about Gruffalo Spotting trails, log on to:




Posted in General Geo, Travel, Students, Fieldwork | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

World Poverty Clock Web Site

ScreenHunter_02 May. 16 13.10

The ‘World Poverty Clock’ web site can be very impactful starter for geography lessons on themes of development.

It is a real-time graphic estimate of the numbers of people in the world living in poverty, and can be projected into the future to monitor the progress against ending extreme poverty – the United Nations’ first Sustainable Development Goal.

After discussing the figures with a class, you can use the slider towards the bottom of the screen to look into the future. What progress is being made? Is it fast enough? What else can be done to reduce some of these figures?

You can also click on ‘methodology’ at the top right to get detailed information for a number of case study countries.



Posted in General Geo, Human World | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Far Do Children Roam?

I came across this interesting graphic recently from the Wildlife Trusts:

C_jK2EkXgAA3cruI fully realise social conditions have altered considerably since 1915, but perhaps a good dose of geographical education at school might help our future parents-to-be to explore the outdoors with their children?

Posted in General Geo | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The World At Night Quiz

Here’s a nice little test for geographers – can you identify these cities from night-time photographs taken by astronauts on the International Space Station?

Try these tasters, and then go to the full quiz via the link below:



I wont give the answers away – they are part of the full quiz!

Link to full quiz:


Posted in Human World, Maps, Travel | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Can You Draw A Decent World Map?

I have always believed that young people (as well as adults!) should have a decent ‘mental map’ of the world if they are to begin to understand the complexities of the world in which they live.

I have to say I was pretty impressed by the ability of this Chinese teacher in reproducing a world map on his blackboard (remember those?)

These versions might be a good place to start with students –

Posted in General Geo, Maps, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The World’s Newest Countries



Image: Toronto Sun

I always cringe in our local pub quiz when the geography questions come along – and pray that they refer to something I know in order to maintain my street-cred.


In a recent quiz, a couple of questions referred to ‘new’ countries of the world, and it led me to check that I was up to speed with all of the newest countries to gain world recognition.

Here is my list:

  1. South Sudan – declared independence from Sudan in 2011, and is currently the newest sovereign country of the world, and a member of the United Nations.
  2. Timor Leste – formerly East Timor, which gained independence from Indonesia in 2002. timor-leste-010211
  3. Eritrea – annexed by Ethiopia in 1962 after a long civil war, eventually gained independence in 1993.
  4. Palau – Gained independence in 1994, and now exists in free association with the USA which is responsible for its defence and foreign affairs.
  5. Kosovo – part of the former Yugoslavia, broke away from Serbia and unilaterally declared independence in 2008. Recognised by the UK and many other United Nations countries, but is not actually a UN member state.
  6. Montenegro – joined with Serbia in 1992 after the collapse of Yugoslavia – but Montenegro withdrew from this alliance in 2006.
  7. Serbia – formed in 2006 after the alliance with Montenegro collapsed.
  8. Slovakia – born as a nation in 1993 following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia.
  9. Czech Republic – created in 1993 following the disintegration of Czechoslovakia.
  10. Bosnia & Herzegovina – created in 1992 following the break up of Yugoslavia.
  11. Croatia – formed in 1991 following the break up of Yugoslavia.
  12. Slovenia – formed in 1991 following the break up of Yugoslavia.

In addition to these, the earlier disintegration of the USSR gave rise to 15 new countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

And what of the future? Maybe these will be the next ‘new’ countries to figure in pub quizzes –

Catalonia – a region of Spain located on the north east coast and bordering France and Andorra; Flemish Republic – (Belgium) Flanders differs greatly from Wallonia in terms of language and culture; Venito – some in Venice envision the city becoming a European version of Singapore; Scotland – calls for Scottish independence are still alive; Abkhazia – this region has been disputed for centuries, and tried to separate from Georgia when it was made independent; South Ossetia – recognised by Russia as an independent nation; Transnistra – currently an unrecognised state within Moldova; New Russia – Donetsk and Luhansk, 2 self-declared republics in Ukraine; West Papua – western half of New Guinea; Somaliland – a state within Somalia




Posted in General Geo, Human World, Maps, Travel | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Not Just Garden And Golf …

Since I took early retirement from my teaching career back in 2015, it has not all been gardening and golf.

Apart from my regular visits to Iceland as a Field Studies Tutor on behalf of Rayburn Tours, I have been involved in a number of writing projects.

These are now beginning to come to fruition, and the following resources will soon be available to teachers and students:

This exam practice book for OCR B GCSE is published by Hodder and will be available later this month. It was written in collaboration with Jo Payne from Okehampton School – a real Devonian joint effort!Hodder New Publication

I also wrote a number of sections for this AQA GCSE revision guide for Harper Collins, and this will be available in June:

Collins New Publication

I have also been working on a revision flashcard smart ‘phone app for AQA GCSE on behalf of BBC Bitesize, and this should be available later in the year.

No projects in the immediate pipeline – so this summer I can get back to tending my garden and reducing that golf handicap ….

Posted in Curriculum, General Geo, Teachers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment