Changing Landscapes Research Group (CLRG)


Changing Landscapes Research Group Logo

The Changing Landscapes Research Group (CLRG)challenges key scientific questions, informs societal debates, and delivers client projects using applied research and consultancy approaches. Our core areas of activity consider fluvial geomorphology and hydrology, upland/ mountain geomorphology, and the utilisation of GIS and remote sensing technologies.

Our objectives are to:

  • Utilise and develop cutting edge Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) and dGPS technologies in the evaluation and management of selected dynamic geomorphic environments (i.e. mountain sediment cascades, river channels and coastal margins);
  • Engage with regional, national and international partners in the pursuance of our research aim, to enhance community knowledge via publication, meetings and public engagement;
  • Foster and enhance collaborative project relationships with national institutions who have a responsibility for the management of environmental assets, to exchange knowledge and influence best practice and policy;
  • Offer commercial consultancy services, in areas consummate with our technical expertise and professionally recognized practice;
  • Support the continuing professional development of research group members, including supervision of PhD students, and mentoring early-career researchers;
  • Maintain existing strengths in pedagogic research related to fieldwork, involving student researchers.


Summer 2013 ­- In association with CLRG, Geography student James Gambs presented his research on community responses to the 2012 Chew Magna floods, to project partners: Parish and Local Government Authorities (BaNES).

Summer 2013- In association with CLRG, Geography students Peter Bridge, Alice Johns, and Laurence Ralph presented their work on Wiltshire river geomorphological dynamics and management options to the project partner: Environment Agency.

Autumn 2013 - CLRG is undertaking a further field visit to the Lower Himalaya, Northern India; to assess geomorphic evidence, explore historical archives and obtain village stories of mountain catchment flood/ mass movement hazards. This integrates geomorphological and social research methodologies, and will interact with local communities in the Kullu Valley and work with Indian partner organisations. Dr Esther Edwards and Dr Rich Johnson are presenting early details of this venture to the Bath Geographical Association/ Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, in November 2013.

Further details of the public lecture: GA / BRSLI November 2013


Monitoring Landslide Dynamics: Newton Park­, Bath, UK. In partnership with the Duchy of Cornwall, CLRG is monitoring a large slope failure which occurred at Newton Park, late in 2012. This study integrates the use of hydro-meteorological, geomorphological, and digital survey techniques (TLS) in the reconstruction and monitoring of site dynamics.  Outputs will inform future land management, and provide a means to integrate research approaches into campus based BSU physical geography teaching and learning.

River Avon, Seagry, Wiltshire

 Monitoring Channel Bank Recession Dynamics Impacting Structural Assets: River Avon, Seagry, Wiltshire, UK­. In partnership with the Environment Agency (EA), CLRG is using a combination of traditional geomorphological and TLS techniques to monitoring bank recession in the vicinity of a large river weir/ sluice. Understanding the system dynamics is allowing the EA to better manage their asset.

Lake DistrictDigital Survey of Upland Sediment Systems: English Lake District, Cumbria, UK. In collaboration with two UK HEIs and local agencies, CLRG is utilizing TLS, dGPS, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technologies in the exploration of upland sediment cascades. These are considering the behavior of three system components: i.e. a coupled hillslope landslide scar, a headwater stream, and a higher-order river channel. These investigations provide a novel basis for high resolution sediment budget calculations in this upland environment, and also permit the comparison of contrasting digital data capture technologies. Both are central to the effective and efficient management of these active and sensitive environment locations.


Hazard, Vulnerability and Risk Adaptation in the Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, Northern India­. A BSU cross-disciplinary project (Physical Geography [CLRG], History, and Creative Writing) is building a digital story of a Kullu Valley tributary catchment. This integrates aspects of the physical landscape (hazard) with the personal stories of local village communities (related to vulnerability and risk). This enhances teaching pedagogy for BSU undergraduate fieldtrips to the region, but also creates a valuable resource for the local communities, who are experiencing rapid development and could lose their traditional knowledge and sustainable adaptations to risk. 

Further details of these projects:


Dr Esther Edwards

  • Edwards E., Ager T., Frey E., Toth C., Walker S., Whittaker E.F., Zavattero P.,  and  Zeugge H. (2004). Chp 8: Cameras and Sensing Systems. In McGlone, C. (Ed) Manual of Photogrammetry 5th edition. American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 2004, Bethseda, USA, pp1151.
  • Edwards, E. (2001) PhD Thesis: An Investigation Into The Use Of Aerial Digital Photography For Monitoring Coastal Sand Dunes.
  • Edwards, E. and Koh, A. (2001) Aerial Digital Photography for Change Detection on Coastal Sand Dunes. In: Lin, J-C. (Ed) Proceedings of the International Workshop on Coastal Landscape Conservation and Management. Taipei, Taiwan, (120-144) (August), National Taiwan University.
  • Edwards, E. and Koh, A. (2000) A Processing Chain for the Extraction of DEMs and the Production of Contoured Orthophotomaps for Catchment and Coastal Management Using CIR Digital Aerial Photography and Digital Photogrammetry. GeoCoast , 1(1): 52-71.
  • Curr, R.H.F.,  Koh,  A., Edwards, E., Davies, P., and  Williams, A.T. (2000) Assessing anthropogenic impact on Mediterranean sand dunes from aerial digital photography. Journal of Coastal Conservation, 6(1): 15-22. ELOISE No. 150/26.
  • Edwards, E., House, J., Koh, A. and  Hall, D. (1999) Revolutionising Remote Sensing. Biologist , 46(3).

Dr Rich Johnson

  • Johnson, R.M., and Fish P.R. (2012) Reactivation of the coastal landslide at Cayton Cliff, Cayton Bay, North Yorkshire, UK. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, 59: 77-89.
  • Johnson, R.M., Warburton J., Mills A.J., and Winter, C. (2010) Evaluating the significance of event and post event sediment dynamics in a first order tributary using multiple sediment budgets. Geografiska Annaler, 92 (A) 2: 189-209.
  • Johnson, R.M., and Warburton, J. (2008) Significance of event versus post-event sediment transfer processes in a UK upland sediment system. In: Beylich A.A., Lamoureux S.F., and Decaulne A. (Eds.) Third I.A.G/ A.I.G SEDIBUD Workshop, Boulder, U.S.A.: Sediment Fluxes and Sediment Budgets in Changing High-Latitude and High-Altitude Cold Environments. NGU Report 2008.58.
  • Johnson, R.M., Warburton, J., and Mills, A.J. (2008) Reconstruction of sediment transfer in a catastrophic hillslope-channel event: Wet Swine Gill, Lake District, Northern England. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 33: 394-413.
  • Warburton, J., Milledge, D., and Johnson, R.M. (2008) Assessment of shallow landslide activity following the January 2005 storm, North Cumbria. Proceedings of the Cumberland Geological Society, 7(3): 263-284.
  • Johnson, R.M., and Warburton, J. (2006) Variability in sediment supply, transfer and deposition in an upland torrent system: Iron Crag, Lake District, Northern England. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 31(7): 844-861.
  • Johnson, R.M., and Warburton, J. (2006) Episodic discharge of coarse sediment in a mountain torrent. In Sediment Dynamics and the Hydromorphology of Fluvial Systems (Proceedings of a Symposium held in Dundee, UK, July 2006) IAHS Publ. 306
  • Johnson, R.M., Warburton, J., and Armstrong A. (2006) Sediment budget dynamics of a Mountain Torrent In: Beylich A.A. (Ed.) Fourth ESF SEDIFLUX Science Meeting and First Workshop of I.A.G./A.I.G. SEDIBUD: Source-to-Sink-Fluxes and Sediment Budgets in Cold Environments. October 29th-November 02nd, 2006, Trondheim, Norway. NGF Abstracts and Proceedings of the Geological Society of Norway, 4, 2006.
  • Johnson, R.M. (2004) Mountain Torrents. Geography Review, 17(5): 24-26.
  • Warburton J., and Johnson R.M. (2004) Wildfire. Planet Earth (NERC), Summer 2004: 14-15.
  • Warburton, J., Evans, M.G., and Johnson, R.M. (2003) Discussion on the extent of soil erosion in Upland England and Wales. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 28: 219-223.
  • Johnson, R.M., and Warburton, J. (2003) Regional assessment of contemporary debris flow activity in Lake District Mountain Catchments, Northern England: occurrence, scale, and process. In Rickenmann, D. and Chen, C-L. (Eds.) Debris Flow Hazards Mitigation: Mechanics, Prediction, and Assessment. Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference, Davos, Switzerland, 2003. Millpress, Rotterdam.
  • Johnson, R.M., and Warburton, J. (2002) Annual Sediment Budget of a UK mountain torrent. Geografiska Annaler, 84A (2): 73-88.
  • Johnson, R.M., and Warburton, J. (2002) Flooding and geomorphic impacts of a mountain
  • torrent, Raise Beck, Central Lake District, England. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 27:945-969.
  • Johnson, R.M., Warburton, J., and Burt, T.P. (2002) Torrent erosion in Lake District Mountain Catchments. In Burt, T.P., Thompson, D.B.A., and Warburton, J. (Eds) The British Uplands: Dynamics of change. JNCC Report No. 319. JNCC, Peterborough.

Dr Dave Simm

  • Marvell, A., Simm, D., Schaaf, R., and Harper, R. (2013) Students as scholars: evaluating student-led learning and teaching during fieldwork. Journal of Geography in Higher Education.
  • Winlow, H., Simm, D., Marvell, A,. and Schaaf, R. (2013) Using focus group research to support teaching and learning. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 37(2): 292-303.
  • Simm, D., Marvell, A., Schaaf, R., and Winlow, H. (2012) Foundation degrees in Geography and Tourism: a critical reflection on student experiences and the implications for undergraduate degree courses. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 36(4): 563-583.
  • Simm, D., and Schaaf, R. (2011) Providing specialist support to peers: Evaluating a student mentoring scheme for semi-independent overseas fieldwork. Planet, 24: 30-36.
  • Simm, D., Marvell, A., Winlow, H., and Schaaf, R. (2011) Student experiences of Foundation degrees in Further and Higher Education. Planet, 24: 2-9.
  • Simm, D.J. (2008) Book review - Ro Charlton (2008) Fundamentals of Fluvial Geomorphology. London: Routledge. Progress in Physical Geography, 32(3): 347-349.
  • Simm, D.J. (2008) Boring, boring geomorphology? The need for Higher Education to engage with schools and Further Education. Geophemera, 102: 6-10.
  • Simm, D.J., Schaaf, R. and Cooper, D. (2007) Enhancing the supervision of overseas fieldwork using student feedback. In: Them and Us, p.9. Plymouth: HEA-GEES.
  • Winlow, H., Simm, D.J., and Haslett, S.K. (2007) Extended work-related placements in developing countries: Supporting remote learning and assessment. Planet, 18: 28-32.
  • McGuinness, M., and Simm, D.J. (2005) Going global? Long-haul fieldwork in undergraduate Geography. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 29(2): 241-253.
  • Simm, D.J. (2005) Experiential learning - assessing process and product. Planet, 15: 16-19.
  • Simm, D.J., and McGuinness, M. (2004) Crisis resolution of student-led research projects at distant localities. Planet, 13: 8-11.
  • McGuinness, M., and Simm, D.J. (2003) Linking teaching and research through departmental research conferences for student project work. Planet Special Edition, 5: 21-24.
  • Simm, D.J. (2002) Using the internet as a teaching tool: Three Gorges Dam, China. Teaching Geography, 27(2): 82-86.
  • Simm, D.J., and David, C.A. (2002) Effective teaching of research design in physical geography: a case study. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 26(2): 169-180.
  • Simm, D.J., and David, C.A. (2002) Workshop-based teaching of research design. Planet, 3: 12-14.
  • Simm, D.J. (2001) Introducing RiversWEB. Teaching Geography, 26(3): 142-144.
  • Simm, D.J. and Walling, D.E. (1998) Lateral variability of overbank sedimentation on a Devon flood plain. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 43(5): 715-732.
  • Simm, D.J., Walling, D.E., Bates, P.D., and Anderson, M.G. (1997) The potential application of finite element modelling of flood plain inundation to predict patterns of overbank deposition. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 42(6): 859-875.
  • Simm, D.J. (1995) The rates and patterns of overbank deposition on a lowland floodplain. In: Foster, I.D.L., Gurnell, A.M., and Webb, B.W. (Eds.) Sediment and Water Quality in River Catchments. Chichester: Wiley, ch.14: 247-264.
  • Simm, D.J. (1993) The Deposition and Storage of Suspended Sediment in Contemporary Floodplain Systems: A Case Study of the River Culm, Devon. PhD thesis, University of Exeter.
  • Bates, P.D., Anderson, M.G., Baird, L., Walling, D.E., and Simm, D.J. (1992) Modelling floodplain flows using a two-dimensional finite element model. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 17(6): 575-588.
  • Simm, D. (originator) (2013) Bridging the gap between foundation degrees and honours degrees. In: Tate, S. and Hopkins, P. (Eds) Re-thinking undergraduate students transitions to, through and out of university. York: The Higher Education Academy, pp.17-18.
  • Simm, D. (originator) (2013) Peer mentoring for semi-independent overseas fieldwork. In: Tate, S. and Hopkins, P. (Eds) Re-thinking undergraduate students transitions to, through and out of university. York: The Higher Education Academy, p.17.
  • Winlow, H., Simm, D., and Haslett, S. (originators) (2008) Case Study 5: Supporting independent fieldwork in developing countries. In: Maskall, J. and Stokes, A. (Eds) Designing Effective Fieldwork for the Environmental and Natural Sciences. Plymouth: GEES, p.27.

Dr Andy Skellern

  • Haslett, S.K., Skellern, A., Chilcott, A., and Longman, D. (2011) Climate Change Education Through a Blended Learning Google Earth Exercise. In: Haslett, S.K., France, D. & Gedye, S. (Eds) Pedagogy of Climate Change.
  • Skellern, A. R., Haslett, S.K., and Open, S. (2007) The potential area affected by the 1607 flood event in the Severn Estuary, UK: a preliminary investigation. Archaeology in the Severn Estuary, 18: 59-65.
  • Palutikof, J., Holt, T., and Skellern, A.R. (1997) Wind: Resource and Hazard in Climates of the British Isles: present, past and future Eds. M. Hulme and E. Barrow, Routledge, London.
  • Palutikof, J.P., and Skellern, A.R. (1991) Storm Severity over Britain: A report to Commercial Union, Climatic research Unit, University Of East Anglia.


CLRG has a vibrant, experienced, and accessible team of Scientists / Technologists. Team members have professional recognition via fellowship / chartership awarding bodies (Geological Society of London, Royal Geographical Society). We are able to robustly deliver a breadth and depth of expertise to applied research and project needs, in particular we:

  • Are skilled in the capture and analysis of environmental system data, using geomorphological, remote sensing, and survey (TLS, dGPS, Total Station) tools. Herein we adopt best-practice methodologies;
  • Use GIS for data management and analysis ;
  • Have strong working relationships with public and private sector organisations;
  • Utilise innovative research findings to deliver societal impact, spanning public to specialist audiences;
  • Where possible, integrate project research findings and professional relationships into our Higher Education teaching provision  (Geography, Global Development & Sustainability);
  • Demonstrate a specialist focus and professional track record in the investigation of mountain, river and coastal environments.

To get a more detailed overview of TLS @ BSU download our Statement of Capability

To discuss your project needs contact:


For enquiries relating to research and geomorphology/ digital survey consultancy services contact:

Dr Richard Johnson, CLRG Chair

Tel: +44 1225 876519