It was a sunny October morning when Prep Three set off on their adventure to North Wales, our two mini buses full of excited children and staff, as well as the all important packed lunches. Eventually we spotted the red dragon sign that welcomed us to Wales and not long after we caught our first glimpse of the sea, so we knew we were nearly there (in answer to the endless questions!)
Our first stop was at the top of the Great Orme, where we joined the rangers for a nature walk, learning about the habitats of the various animals, birds and insects which make their homes there. Who knew that there are whales in Wales, or that tiny bats live in the abandoned tunnels of the Copper Mines? We were fascinated to learn that three hundred million years ago, the Great Orme would have been underneath a tropical sea, and in the limestone quarry we hunted for fossils of creatures which lived there all those years ago. Prep Three were excellent fossils hunters, and after we had examined our finds, we put them back for other people to find; Harper hid one ready for Molly to uncover next year!
After a quick lunch we drove down to the Copper Mines. The short film we watched explained that no one knew the tunnels existed until 1987 – what an exciting find for archaeologists! We learned that the green copper ore in the rocks was called malachite, and that early man ground it into powder, heated it and poured the liquid metal into moulds. By adding tin from mines in Cornwall, bronze could be made, which was a stronger metal for weapons and tools.
At long last – the part we had all been waiting for – choosing a hard hat and entering the underground tunnels. Hmmm – which colour to pick? Definitely pink for Juliette and Alia! It was quite dark and cold, and we could begin to imagine what it would have been like for the five year old children who mined in the smaller spaces, using bones and stones from the beach as tools. Finally we emerged into the daylight for the last part of the trip, the gift shop, which is always a highlight! We returned to school clutching our souvenirs in paper bags, tired but happy. Many thanks to Mr Rooney and Mr Suter for their excellent driving, and to Mrs Hadgianni for all her help and support.