Learning opportunities for KS3 and KS4 at Carding Mill Valley

Teenagers looking at pond life

Preparing your class for geography or biology GCSE? The Shropshire Hills is a great place to carry out your practical studies. From river studies to rock formation, our expert learning team can deliver a range of sessions to suit your needs.

Guided walk

Suitable for all ages, the guided walk is the perfect way to introduce students to the valley. Led by a member of the learning team, the group will discuss topics including, the lifecycle of a river, human and natural impact on the landscape and points of archaeological interest in the valley.

Suggested walks   

  • Reservoir and return - 45 minutes
  • Reservoir and pipewalk - 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Waterfall - 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Reservoir, pipewalk and waterfall - 1 hour 45 minutes
  • River source - 2 hours 30 minutes

For a full day visit, we recommend doing the guided walk and another one or two of the following activities.

River studies

This session is perfect for GCSE Geography students to carry out their physical fieldwork but can be adapted for KS3 students as well. The learning team will help students to record information about the river's depth and flow. We provide clipboards, measuring tapes and recording sheets for students to use. Groups can conduct studies at more than one site to help draw comparisons. Let us know the exam syllabus you are following and we'll shape the session accordingly.


Learn all about the formation of the Shropshire Hills and nearby volcanoes. Students will carry out tests on metamorphic, igneous and sedimentary rock samples. It's hard to believe that some of the ripple and raindrop marks in the stone are nearly 520 million years old.

Groups can choose to visit Lea Quarry on Wenlock Edge where we take a look at the coral reef strata for evidence of fossils. A morning at Carding Mill followed by an afternoon on Wenlock Edge makes for a full day's work.

Orienteering, map and compass

Get to know your way around the valley. There are two orienteering courses at Carding Mill Valley to choose from. The intorductory course covers the lower part of the valley. The learning team will begin the session with a variety of map reading exercises, including grid referencing and using a compass. This activity usually takes half a day but can be extended to a complete day with an afternoon session completing the larger, more challenging mid-valley course . For smaller groups, map reading can be done indoors.

Lab work

Our two field labs can seat 32 people. Students really enjoy using the microscopes to examine the flora and fauna they've found in the stream. The learning team will help the group to get to grips with a range of investigation techniques. Students will use a biotic index to estimate water pollution and an identification key to help them find out more about their water invertebrate.


We have several different habitats to study and compare. Take a closer look in one of our ponds, comb the heathland or head to the hillside woodland in Carding Mill Valley to discover what's living and growing on different levels of the valley. Investigate the soil, the leaf litter, the shurb layer and the canopy for signs of life. Take a look at our resident birds from the bird hide and compare your findings from the hillside. We can offer lots of different learning opportunities around habitats. Let us know what suits you and your class when you book your visit.