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Discovery Sessions

The Rangers are happy to work with educators to tailor sessions to meet your learning needs. If the sessions below do not meet your requirements, please get in touch.

1. Meet a Ranger
2. Birds of the Cliff
3. Limestones and Quarries
4. Dolphins and the Marine Environment

5. Durlston Mini-tour
6. Victorian Durlston
7. Adaptations and Ecosystems
8. Coastal Processes

9. Country Park Management on a World Heritage Site
10. Fossil Dig
11. NEW From Durlston to Deep Space

1. Meet a Ranger

Dates: All year
Key Stage: 1-4
Subjects: Geography, Citizenship, Science
Cost: £1 per student

½ hour introduction to Durlston and the work of the Rangers. The session can be tailored to suit your area of study.

  • Topics include landscape, habitats, tourism, environmental issues, and provides an insight into the local marine environment.

2. Birds of the Cliff

Dates: Mid-April to mid-July
Key Stage: 1-4
Subjects: Geography, Science
Cost: £2 per student

A session in the Centre, followed by a walk along the coast path to understand the birds and their behaviour.

  • Animated talk using live Guillemot pictures relayed from the cliff-edge camera.
  • Topics include adaptations of seabirds, comparison, breeding cycle, identification, predation, human influences.

3. Limestones and Quarries

Dates: All year
Key Stage: 2-4
Subjects: Geography, Science, History
Cost: £2 per student

An introduction to geology, & stone quarrying, focusing on the 2 different quarries situated on the Park.

  • Rock formation, geological timescale, fossil evidence and changes in the environment.
  • Resources and human impact on the landscape.
  • Adaptations to limestone habitat.

4. Dolphins and the Marine Environment

Dates: All year
Key Stage: 1-4
Subjects: Geography, Science, Citizenship
Cost: £2 per student

A lively session in the Centre, and walk along the coast path to explore the marine environment.

  • Underwater adaptations.
  • Sounds from the hydrophone.
  • Human impact on the marine environment.

5. Durlston Mini-tour

Dates: All year
Key Stage: 1-4
Subjects: History, Geography, Science
Cost: £2 per student

Join a Ranger to explore the park, focusing on seasonal interests.

  • Comparing habitats and the wildlife within them, plant and animal adaptations, land-use changes - farming, quarrying, and tourism.

6. Victorian Durlston

Dates: All year
Key Stage: 1-3
Subjects: History, Geography
Cost: £2 per student

An historical tour of Durlston through the ages.

  • Step back in time to 1862 and discover the aspirations of Durlston’s eccentric owner, George Burt. His legacy includes Durlston Castle and the Great Globe.
  • The history of stone quarrying in the 1800s is also relived through 2 examples of quarries on the Park

7. Adaptations and Ecosystems

Dates: April-September
Key Stage: 2-4
Subjects: Geography, Science
Cost: £2 per student

A talk/ walk to discover adaptations and ecosystems on the Park.

  • Topics include adaptations, diversity, interdependence, prey/predator relationship and competition.
  • Environmental pressures and conservation.
  • Examples from marine and terrestrial environment.

8. Coastal Processes

Dates: All year
Key Stage: 2-4
Subjects: Geography, Science
Cost: £2 per student

A session and walk to explore coastal dynamics.

  • Examples of eroded bays, headlands, landslips & coastal defences.
  • Relationship between geology and landscape, and the effects of geology on habitat creation.
  • Erosion, discordant and concordant coastlines.
  • Why this coastline has been designated as a World Heritage Site.

9. Country Park Management on a World Heritage Site

Dates: All year
Key Stage: 3-4+
Subjects: Geography, Science, Citizenship
Cost: £2 per student

A slide show and/or walk and discussion to investigate Country Park management on a WHS and sustainability.

  • WHS status - what does it mean for tourism, the local economy and environment?
  • Human impact on the environment - can conservation and tourism be reconciled?
  • Sustainable development and responsibility – is there such a thing as eco-tourism?

A resource CD is available at £10 to accompany this session, if required.

10. Fossil Dig

Dates: All Year
Key Stage: 1-2
Subjects: Geography, Science
Cost: £1 per student

Join a Ranger for a 1/2 hour interactive introduction to the amazing prehistoric past of Durlston and the Jurassic Coast. Uncover fossils in our Jurassic Dig Tray and see the real thing, including dinosaur footprints.

  • Topics include properties of rocks, differences and similarities between plants and animals, what is a fossil and how are they formed, adaptations to the environment and environmental change over time.

11. From Durlston to Deep Space

Dates: All Year
Key Stage: 1-4
Subjects: Science
Cost: £2 per student

The new Durlston Astronomy Centre provides a unique opportunity for students to explore the wonders of the night sky, using state-of-the-art 14-inch reflecting telescopes to provide views of the near and far universe. Sessions last 1 hour.

  • Work with the telescopes is supported by a presentation and activities with the Rangers and an expert astronomer, linked to the National Curriculum.
  • If the weather is unsuitable for viewing, a full indoor astronomy programme includes presentations, 3-D demonstrations and discussions.
  • Teachers can also be trained to use the telescope independently or attend astronomy courses at Durlston.

Further Info

Cost and Length of Sessions

All sessions (except ‘Meet a Ranger’, 'Fossil Dig' and 'From Durlston to Deep Space') last approx 1½ hours and cost £2 per student. 'Meet a Ranger' and 'Fossil Dig' are ½ hour sessions in and around the Centre and cost £1 per student. 'From Durlston to Deep Space' lasts 1 hour and costs £2 per student. 

Discovery Sessions and The National Curriculum

The sessions are designed to cover areas of the National Curriculum, however they are flexible and can be adapted to suit your learning needs. Please discuss with a Ranger before your visit.

Booking a Session

Please telephone first to ensure your chosen date is available, then complete the booking form and send it to the address below, or email it to us.

For more details contact:

Durlston Country Park,
Lighthouse Road,
Swanage BH19 2JL

01929 424443