The sounds of our shores

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Imogen Tinkler, communications intern for the National Trust, looks back at some of the highlights from the ‘Sounds of our shores’ project

After three months, over 680 uploads and around 67,000 listens, the ‘Sounds of Our Shores’ project in collaboration with the British Library and the National Trust for Scotland has come to a close.

As well as encouraging people to get out and explore the seaside, the aim of this coastal sound map was to create a ‘snapshot’ of the UK coastline that could be preserved for future generations. Yet the sounds that we have received not only create a sense of what our shores sound like in 2015, but also reveal much about our relationship with the coast.

Waves crash against the rocks at Heddon's Mouth, North Devon.

Waves crash against the rocks at Heddon’s Mouth, North Devon. Credit National Trust.

One discovery we’ve made through this project is the sheer diversity of sounds that can be heard near the sea. On the soundmap, the classic noises of seagulls and waves breaking on the shore sit alongside some more unusual contributions, such as the roar of ‘The Deluge’ chain flush inside the (now disused) ornate Victorian toilets on Rothesay seafront in Glasgow.   Continue reading

A coastal walk will make you sleep longer and feel happier

  • UK coast walkers sleep an average of 47 minutes longer after a walk by the sea
  • Coastal walking boosts feelings of calm and happiness and provides walkers with a sense of escape
  • Coastal walks offer a distraction from the stresses of everyday life (63 per cent) and make people feel positive about their lives in general (55 per cent)
Family walking along the clifftop at Birling Gap, part of the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs range, East Sussex. The Belle Tout Lighthouse (not NT owned) is seen in the distance.

Family walking along the clifftop at Birling Gap, part of the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs range, East Sussex. Credit National Trust.

A walk by the coast will have you sleeping an extra 47 minutes on average as well as providing you with feelings of calm (83 per cent), happiness (82 per cent) and a sense of escapism (62 per cent), according to a national report out today.

Over two thirds (69 per cent) of Brits state they fall into a deeper sleep after being by the coast with one in three (36 per cent) also saying that the thought alone of the sea helps them sleep at night.

The research has been carried out as part of the National Trust’s Great British Walk campaign, run in partnership with Cotswold Outdoor, to look at how walking on the coast really impacts on our wellbeing and to encourage people to explore our UK coastline, of which 775 miles is cared for by the conservation charity.

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Sound residency set to make waves at the home of radio


Joe Acheson, Credit National Trust, Steven Haywood

Joe Acheson, Credit National Trust/Steven Haywood

Musician and producer Joe Acheson has taken up the National Trust’s first ever sound residency on the Lizard in Cornwall this week where he is recording sounds along this coastal jewel and tapping into Marconi’s time there to create a new piece of music. Continue reading

Giant shell brings the coast to the city

Credit Andy Fallon Photography

Credit Andy Fallon Photography

A giant shell will be washing up at seven cities around the UK during August as part of our year-long celebration of the coast. Featuring seaside smells, sounds, sights and tastes, the ‘Shellsphere’ will be a full sensory coastal experience which will transport you to our shores.

As new research reveals that visits to the coast have declined by 20 per cent in the last decade and over half the nation hasn’t had a single day trip to the coast in the last year, the touring Shellsphere will help reconnect us to the wonders of the seaside.

The aromas of salty sea air, seaweed, caves and rock pools, the sounds of waves and seagulls and evocative interior lighting will recreate the magic of the coast in the heart of London, Cardiff, Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Belfast.

Credit Andy Fallon Photography

Credit Andy Fallon Photography

‘The UK coastline is a magical place and can offer such a diverse range of experiences,’ says Gwen Potter, our wildlife and countryside ranger and coastal champion. ‘We’re hoping the Shellsphere will trigger people’s love of the coast and encourage them to explore the great UK coastline this summer and beyond.’

As part of the free interactive encounter there will be the opportunity to help celebrated poet Dr John Cooper Clarke complete a new poem, the ‘Nation’s Ode to the Coast’, by sharing your memories and love of the coast using #lovethecoast.

Share your love of the coast at a Shellsphere event for the chance to win a Panasonic LUMIX Digital Camera DMC-TZ70 (£329.99 RRP) kindly provided by Panasonic, one of our national corporate partners. The winner can use their new Panasonic camera to take photos of their next trip to the coast.

Read the competition terms and conditions.

Where to find the giant shell:

  • London, Southbank (Observation Point) – 19 August
  • Cardiff, Queen Street and Churchill Way – 21 August
  • Bristol, Central Promenade – 22 August
  • Birmingham, Centenary Square, Broad Street – 24 August
  • Leeds, Briggate – 26 August
  • Manchester, Queen Victoria Statue – 28 August
  • Belfast, City Hall Ground – 31 August

Vote opens to find UK’s favourite coastal sound

Whether it’s the sound of waves rolling on to golden sands, seagulls crying from the clifftops or children playing on the beach, the National Trust, National Trust for Scotland and the British Library are on a mission to discover the UK’s favourite coastal sound, as part of a three month crowd sourced sound project, sounds of our shores.

Kittiwake at Cullernose Point, Northumberland. Credit Simon Elliott

Kittiwake at Cullernose Point, Northumberland. Credit Simon Elliott

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Not so common: where is the Common Blue?

Conservationists are seeking the help of millions of holidaymakers heading to the coast this summer in a bid to solve the mystery of a disappearing butterfly.

Common Blue at Cogden, National Trust beach in Dorset. Credit John Newbold

Common Blue at Cogden, National Trust beach in Dorset. Credit John Newbold

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Wartime tunnels open at the White Cliffs of Dover

Second World War tunnels built on the orders of Winston Churchill underneath the White Cliffs of Dover, have opened to visitors for the first time following a two-year conservation project involving over 50 volunteers.

Fan Bay Deep Shelter, for blog post, credit Richard Crowhurst Corvidae (1)

Fan Bay Deep Shelter. Copyright National Trust, credit Richard Crowhurst Corvidae

Fan Bay Deep Shelter was built in the 1940s as part of Dover’s offensive and defensive gun batteries, which were designed to prevent German ships moving freely in the English Channel. The shelter was personally inspected by Winston Churchill in June 1941.

Carved out of the chalk cliffs, the shelter accommodated four officers and up to 185 men of other ranks during bombardments in five bomb-proof chambers and also had a hospital and secure store. It was decommissioned in the 1950s and filled in two decades later.

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