Site and Situation
When we talk about the site of a settlement, we are refering to the land on which the hamlet, village, town or city is built. A number of site factors would have been important when choosing the inital site of a settlement. These would have included the relief of the land; the availability of natural resources; water supply and the fertility of the surrounding land.
We also talk about the situation of a settlement, this is the location of a place relative to its surroundings (which may include other settlements, landscape features such as rivers, uplands etc.)
The Site and Situation of St Ives (Cambridgeshire)
Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-mapservice. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.
The Site of St Ives
St Ives is on a gravel terrace on the North bank of the River Great Ouse and it is located at a bridging point of the River. There is a floodplain to the south (Hemingford Meadows). The town itself is built mainly on flat land and is surrounded by fertile land. There is an area of woodland close to the old part of the town.
The Situation of St Ives
The settlement of St Ives is situated approximately 17miles to the North West of Cambridge and is about 5 miles east of the market town of Huntingdon. St Ives is just North of the A14 on A1096 it is situated north of the River Great Ouse.
You should know the difference between site and situation and you should be able to describe the site and situation of a place such as St Ives. In the skills paper you will also be expected to interpret OS maps of places you haven't studied before and you will need to be able to identify and describe the site and situation of these places. Have a look at this excellent page from BBC bitesize and see if you can identify the features of the site of Southampton from the OS map provided - why was the city located here? Also check out the OS map of Melton - read the example of the description of its situation that is given.
Follow Up Links:
Settlement Site and Situation (BBC Bitesize)
Site and Situation of a Settlement (good example of Edinburgh) (BBC Scotland - Bitesize)
S-Cool - Site and Situation (Physical and Human factors important in settlement location)
Site, Situation and Function (Digital Brain)
Key Terms Check
Site - the land on which a settlement is built
Situation - the location of a place relative to its surroundings.