FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

1980 Jenny Lundh, Exeter - FSC Preston Montford followed by Slapton and Dale

I will always remember that the 1980s for me were a time of sun, sea and fieldwork instead of most people’s experiences of big hair, big shoulder pads and big mobile phones.

My first contact with the FSC was my ‘A’ Level Geography fieldtrip to Preston Montford. A small group (5 of us?), mixed with other schools, really enjoyed it - I remember doing river fieldwork in a lovely valley on the Long Mynd, and walking along a main road to the pub in evenings. I remember fieldwork really bringing Geography to life. I can’t remember who taught us but remember thinking it looked like a good job - but not one I would ever do as I was far too shy to talk in front of a group of people....
In 1981 I went on to do a geography degree, unsure what to do afterwards but interested in the subject enough to sort that out later...
1986: having graduated with a 2(1) in geography and still unsure what to do next, and having spent two years volunteering with BTCV and a wildlife trust, I applied for a domestic assistant position at Dale Fort Field Centre as a good place to be while looking for a “proper job”. I loved Dale Fort, enjoyed the coast, the islands, the people, the fun, the sunbathing, the deputy warden, the lifeboat... I started to help with teaching small groups alongside the tutors, and was then brave enough to spend summer 1987 teaching at Brecon Beacons National Park study centre. I then returned briefly to Dale Fort, where I was persuaded by David Emerson the warden to apply for FSC tutor jobs. By then I had gained enough confidence to apply for the next Geography vacancy which was at Preston Montford - where I had been on my A Level fieldtrip.
So - before long I found myself teaching rivers fieldwork in Ashes Hollow, that same valley on the Long Mynd, as well as lots of other subjects/areas, and became very familiar with that walk along the main road to the Wingfield Arms.
Jennie Wallace-Hadrill (now Comerford) taught me everything I knew - and I was brave enough to talk in front of groups of people!
Amanda Holloway (now Perrins) soon added to the fun, the general naughtiness and the Bananarama routines.
But there really wasn’t enough sea at Preston Montford so in November 1989 I transferred to Slapton Ley Field Centre when David Job left – a hard act to follow - singing “Wish I could be like David Job” to the tune of David Watts made it a lot easier though.
Helen Springall taught me more of everything I knew. Fieldwork expanded into beaches, cliffs and Dartmoor National Park.
Keith Chell was an inspirational warden and I enjoyed the Nature Reserve with Chris Riley and Orlando Rutter and spending time with Jane De’Ath, Andy Nisbet, Dawn Tartt, Julie the other placement student and lots of others who added to the lively community while I was there.
I left the FSC in December 1991 and will always remember that the 1980s for me were a time of sun, sea and fieldwork instead of most people’s experiences of big hair, big shoulder pads and big mobile phones. Also a time of confidence building for me, plus inspirational environmental awareness – which I hope I’m now passing on to others.
Thank you FSC for all that and for some good lifelong friends. HAPPY 70th ANNIVERSARY.