A sonic postcard from the coast

Close your eyes for a minute. Think of a favourite place on the coast. Tune into your memory soundbank and start to imagine the sounds that fill the airwaves. It could be the sounds from the days spent at the coast as a kid when the day felt like it would never end. Or it might be a trip to a seabird colony clinging to the cliffs and creating an intense wall of sound.

Seaside towns are full of fascinating sounds

Seaside towns are full of fascinating sounds

There is something really powerful about the sounds of our shores. Our sensory experience of being by the sea can fill our life with powerful memories.

This summer the National Trust, British Library and the National Trust for Scotland wants people to record sounds from the whole coastline of the UK – helping to crowd source a sounds of our shores coastal sound map. And it’s not just the wild stretches of coast but the 15 per cent of coastline that is developed too – villages, towns and cities; ports, urban beaches or classic seaside towns.

It’s a project that aims to capture a snapshot of how our coast sounds and also a chance to reflect on the changing relationship that we have with the coastline.

The tapping of a bucket to create a sandcastle is a powerful sound of childhood. Me on a beach in Devon with my Gran

The tapping of a bucket to create a sandcastle is a powerful sound of childhood. Me on a beach in Devon with my Gran

In the last century the relationship that we have with the coast has been transformed. It has shifted from a place of work to a place that we go to play. Yes there is vibrancy still to the working coast – busy fishing harbours and mega sized container terminals – but for most of us it about those special places that we like to visit time and time again.

Recording sounds couldn’t be easier and it’s a great way of creating a sonic equivalent of a postcard or photo. And best of all the sounds that make it up on the coastal sound map will end up in the British Library Sound Archive (one of the biggest in the world no less).

So this summer use some of your screen time to record the sounds of our shores. You’ll be helping to crowd source for a project that will capture the sounds from the UK coast for future generations to hear.

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