Unique mapping project to capture the sounds of our shores

Monday 22/06/2015
Unique mapping project to capture the sounds of our shores
  • Project aims to capture sounds from the North East coast
  • Sounds uploaded on the map will be added to the British Library’s Sound Archive
  • Martyn Ware from Human League and Heaven 17 will use sounds to create a new piece of music inspired by the coast

The public is being asked to record the sounds that shape and define our relationship with the coast across the UK in a three-month crowd sourced sound project – ‘sounds of our shores’ – being launched today by the National Trust, National Trust for Scotland and the British Library.

Sounds from the North East coastline can be uploaded on to the first ever UK coastal sound map, hosted on the British Library website. It could be the chatter of seabirds on the Farne Islands, gentle waves lapping the shores on Druridge Bay or the sound of the foghorn at Souter Lighthouse. All of these sounds will be added to the British Library Sound Archive – creating a snapshot of the beautiful and diverse UK coastline that future generations will be able to hear. 

The coastal sound map project co-incides with the 50th anniversary of the National Trust Neptune Coastline Campaign. Launched in May 1965, the Trust now manages 775 miles of coast in England, Wales and Northern Ireland including around 17 miles in the North East.

Musician, producer and founder member of Human League and Heaven 17, Martyn Ware, will be using the sounds submitted by the public to create a brand new piece of music for release in February 2016.

Cheryl Tipp, Curator of Wildlife and Environment Sounds at the British Library, said: “There is something really evocative about the sounds of our coast; they help shape our memories of the coastline and immediately transport us to a particular time or place whenever we hear them. 

“As millions of us head to the coast this summer for holidays or day trips we want the public to get involved by recording the sounds of our amazing coastline and add them to the sound map. This could be someone wrestling with putting up a deck-chair, the sounds of a fish and chip shop or a busy harbour.

“We’d also love to hear from people that might have historic coastal sounds in the North East which might, for example, be stored in a box in the loft. This will help us see how the sounds of our coastline have changed over the years.”

Sounds recorded, whether on a smart phone, tablet or handheld recorder, can be uploaded to the map via the audioBoom website or app (they are both free and easy to use). The sounds will then appear on the map, which will be hosted on the British Library website.

All of the sounds should be a maximum of five minutes in length and images and words about the sound can be added. People will then be able to share their sounds on the map with friends and family.  The closing date for uploading sounds is Monday 21 September 2015.

At the end of the project all of the sounds that appear on the map will then be added to the British Library’s Sound Archive for future generations to hear.

The sounds from the ‘sounds of our shores’ map will be used by Martyn Ware to create a new piece of music.

A 20-minute soundscape will transport listeners to the sensory richness of the coastline; capturing the working coastline and the coast where we go to play. 

Martyn Ware, said: “I’ve had a deep connection with the coast all of my life. As a kid growing up in Sheffield we’d go on family holidays to Scarborough or Skegness; I can still remember the sounds that filled our days at the seaside.

“There is something emotionally deep about our connection with the coast which has shaped our identity. That is what is so exciting about this new commission and I want to capture the sensory nature of the coastline, reflecting the diversity and beauty of the sounds of our shores.”

To get involved in the project visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/coastal-sounds for top tips on recording sounds on the North East coastline and information about how to upload them on to the map.  Participants will also be able to share their sounds on social media using the hashtag #shoresounds.

Published: Monday 22/06/2015

By Visit Northumberland

Places in this article

Secluded beaches
Northumberland Coast AONB
NE66 3EH
Dramatic views, sandy beaches and iconic castles - this is the essence of Northumberland's coast. Our coast is recognised by experts as a place where you will come across some rare and endangered wildlife.
Druridge Bay Country Park
Druridge Bay Country Park
NE61 5BX

Druridge Bay Country Park includes three miles of beautiful beach and sand dunes, as well as a 100 acre lake surrounded by woods and meadows. The variety in the landscape and pleasant coastal environment ensures you of an enjoyable visit.

Puffins on The Farne Islands
Farne Islands
NE68 7YT

The Farne Islands are possibly the most exciting seabird colony in England with unrivalled views of 23 species, including around 37,000 pairs of puffin.

It's also home to a large grey seal colony, with more than 1,000 pups born every autumn.

Historically, the islands have strong links with Celtic Christianity and St Cuthbert, who lived here in the 7th Century.

Catch a boat from Seahouses ( non National Trust) - additional charge applies

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