Renowned poet helps us celebrate coast

Punk Poet, Dr. John Cooper Clarke, has collaborated with the National Trust to pen the start of a new poem highlighting to the nation the powerful emotions our diverse coastline can convey and the care that is needed to protect it. The release of the poem will kick-start a summer-long campaign to encourage people to share their love for the awe-inspiring beaches, cliff tops, piers and more that make this island nation.

Renowned poet Dr John Cooper Clarke has written the final verses of the Nation’s Ode to the Coast, a new poem celebrating the nation’s enduring love affair with our beautiful coastline, with the help of coastal memories and stories you shared.

We invited you to help Clarke complete his poem, which he started earlier this year, over the summer. The poem takes inspiration from over 11,500 contributions and to mark the launch of the final ode we’ve created a film featuring 17 people who shared why they love the coast.

The poem marks 50 years of our successful Neptune Coastline Campaign. Thanks to the people-powered campaign we look after 775 miles of coastline from the White Cliffs of Dover to the Gower Peninsula, the Jurassic Coast to the Giant’s Causeway.  Continue reading

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

Pembrokeshire cottage restored to former glory

Treleddyd Fawr Cottage

Treleddyd Fawr Cottage St David’s

The National Trust is delighted to have completed the restoration of Treleddyd Fawr Cottage, a Grade II listed property near St David’s, and one of the last surviving examples of a traditional Pembrokeshire cottage.

Now it’s ready to open the door to guests as cosy holiday accommodation, a decision taken by the Trust to allow more visitors to experience this rare slice of Welsh history.

Nestled in the coastal countryside, the one-bedroom cottage and its outbuildings date back to the early 1800s and were bequeathed to the Trust by Mr Glyn Griffiths, with the wish to preserve their personality and charm for others to enjoy.

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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

Unique mapping project to capture the sounds of our shores

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 can be uploaded on to the first ever UK coastal sound map, hosted on the British Library website [1]. It could be the vibrant sounds of a working fishing village, gulls screaming on one of the wonderful seabird islands dotted around our coast or the kettle whistling from inside a much loved beach hut.

Fruit machines on piers and seafronts are just one of the vibrant sounds that you can hear on the coastline. Credit: Tim Stubbings

Fruit machines on piers and seafronts are just one of the vibrant sounds that you an hear on the coastline. Credit: Tim Stubbings

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.

Martyn Ware on Brighton   beach recording sounds for the sounds of our shores project. Credit: Tim Stubbings

Martyn Ware on Brighton beach recording sound for the sounds of our shores project. Credit: Tim Stubbings

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 port.

“We’d also love to hear from people that might have historic coastal sounds, which might 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 Sounds of our shores 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, where they will join more than 6.5 million sounds dating back to the birth of recorded sound in the 19th century. The British Library Sound Archive includes tens of thousands of environmental recordings from storms and waves to birdsong and weather, which provide live data to scientists and researchers detailing how our world sounded at a given moment in time, and enable them to identify changes in our natural environment over time.

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.”

Catherine Lee, National Trust Community and Volunteering Officer on the Lizard in Cornwall and a former sound recordist, said: “Visitors to the coast can record their footsteps in the sand then play it back a few days later and suddenly you’ll find yourself transported back to the moment you were walking. Or maybe record the sound of people ordering and eating ice-creams, the waves crashing against the rocks, the seagulls calling….it’s all totally unique.

“Sound has a wonderful way of bringing us back to a moment in time, a place or an emotional space.”

To get involved in the project visit for top tips on recording sounds on the 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.