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Wonders of Nature

Duration 10 weekly meetings
Tutor Briony Goffin
Course code CRW20A5165A
Fee £170
Concessionary fee £136 (find out about eligibility and funding options)
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This module uses the medium of creative writing to explore and depict our relationship with the natural world.

From beaches to backyards, forests to flowerbeds, wild weather to wild beasts, epic sightings to intimate encounters, this course will seek to nurture curiosity and capture wonder.

Via a variety of writing styles to include poetry and prose, fiction and autobiography, students will amass a portfolio of writing that is full of colour, sensation and revelation.

Led by children’s novelist and doctoral researcher, Elen Caldecott, the module’s teaching style will ensure a warm, supportive and stimulating environment for writers of all experiences.

Anyone who has not yet started to write as well as those who are more experienced. You might wish to write for reasons of personal fulfilment or to produce work that could lead to possible publication.

Learning and teaching

  • Week 1 – Welcomes, and introduction to the wonders of nature writing: a practical session.
  • Week 2 – Nature writing begins at home: gardens; window boxes; city streets.
  • Week 3 – Writing field trip: observational writing in Cathays Park.
  • Week 4 – Stirred up by watery worlds: Nature writing and human emotions.
  • Week 5 – Into the woods: Nature writing as freedom and escape.
  • Week 6 – War with words: Nature Writing as an agent for change.
  • Week 7 – Writing field trip: writing inspired by the National Museums Natural History Collection.
  • Week 8 – Mountains, lakes and deserts: Nature Writing as encounter and adventure.
  • Week 9 – Return to Cathays Park: enjoying applying new found skills and interests in the field.
  • Week 10 – Class read out: opportunity to share favourite writing from the last nine weeks.

Learning and teaching are undertaken by means of small group work. This is a 10-credit course, so there will be two-hour meetings once a week (20 contact hours in all) which will include discussions, exercises (optional), craft lectures and workshops. The aim is ensure that the classes are enjoyable and stimulating for all. You will be expected to write in your own private time, with the guidance of your tutor, and to learn about revision, while at the same time becoming familiar with the fundamental concepts of creative writing.

Coursework and assessment

To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.

There will be no formal examinations. You will be encouraged to write and read examples of your own work to your fellow class members and to comment on their work in turn, in the process sharpening your critical skills. The form your writing takes is for you to decide but your tutor will offer you advice and, depending at what level you are studying, work out a scheme of study with you which is intended to bring out the best in you. The basis of assessment will be a portfolio of creative writing consisting of your best work produced on this module. This portfolio may consist of several separate creative pieces or one piece of extended writing, by prior agreement with the tutor.

Your work will be assessed by your tutor, who will offer you written reports which we hope you will find constructive. The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are flexible and are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.

Reading suggestions

The course tutor will suggest titles, as appropriate.

Library and computing facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.


Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.


21-23 Senghennydd Road
CF24 4AG