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 http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/coastal-sounds 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.

Trust ‘hopeful’ of rebuilding fire-hit stately home

The National Trust today said it hoped to rebuild, in some shape or form, Clandon Park, the 18th century mansion which was reduced to a shell following a devastating fire.

The house, near Guildford, Surrey, suffered extensive damage in the blaze which ripped through the building on April 29. The roof and floors collapsed, the rooms were destroyed and thousands of items are feared to have been lost in the flames.

The external walls however remain largely intact and a specialist team are planning the archaeological salvage operation to recover further items from the building.

The conservation charity said the full extent of the damage remains unknown as structural engineers and insurers continue to assess the site.

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Photo: Chris Lacey

But despite the many uncertainties, the Trust said it was hopeful that Clandon could be rebuilt and would have a long-term future.

Helen Ghosh, director-general of the Trust said: “We’re hopeful that one day we can rebuild Clandon but quite how, when and in what form is far from certain at this early stage.

“The house has been left a shell, with the inside of the building almost completely destroyed. We’re still awaiting guidance from the structural engineers on the safety of the house.

“As we get more information on the extent of the damage, we will be able to take a clearer view on the potential options for Clandon.

“Despite the uncertainty, we would like to reassure all those people who love Clandon as much as we do that it will continue in some shape or form in the future.”

Work will begin shortly to erect scaffolding around the building. Once the scaffolding work is complete and the building confirmed as safe to enter, the painstaking salvage operation can start again.

Significant items from the collection were rescued from the fire during the initial salvage operation including paintings, furniture and silver.

Meanwhile further details of over 350 items rescued have been confirmed including Onslow family photographs, personal mementoes belonging to the 6th Earl of Onslow relating to his time as a prisoner of war, and a silver christening mug.

Poignant and personal mementoes of the Onslow family that have been saved include:

  • A metal prisoner-of-war identity badge worn by the 6th Earl of Onslow in Offlag 79, a prisoner-of-war camp in Brunswick, Germany, where he was imprisoned during the last months of the Second World War.
  • A tie-pin cushion made after the 6th Earl of Onslow’s return from war from the hoof of ‘Queenie’ one of his horses that had served him and had been destroyed because of the shortage of food.
  • The 4th Countess of Onslow’s dinner book of guests and menus for dinner parties. It covers the period 1875-1910 and includes a Parliamentary Dinner from 1908.
  • Two framed photographs of Lady Teresa Onslow as a baby; she later married the journalist and author Auberon Waugh.
  • Photograph of Arthur, 6th Earl of Onslow, and his wife, surrounded by their dogs and caged birds
  • Speaker Sir Richard Onslow’s (1654-1717) silver christening mug.
  • State Purse and metal embroidered red State stocking worn by the ‘Great Speaker’ Arthur Onslow (1691-1768).

    State Purse of Speaker Arthur Onslow as Chancellor to Queen Caroline of Anspach (wife of George II); worked in silver thread with the arms of George II.

    State Purse of Speaker Arthur Onslow 

Sophie Chessum, the curator who is leading the National Trust’s conservation team at Clandon Park comments:

“We are so pleased that so many significant Onslow family portraits and associated historic artefacts were saved.  Three Onslow men have held the office of Speaker of the House of Commons, a unique achievement, and to have rescued their portraits and the Great Speaker’s State Purse is wonderful. We are looking forward to re-uniting the three portraits which had to be cut from their frames on the night of the fire with their elaborate gilded frames.

“We were greatly relieved that the Speakers’ Parlour has survived the fire and the frames were discovered unharmed several days after the fire.  Also rescued was the huge carved and gilt chair that stood on the Stone Stairs. This 250 year old chair might have been a gift to Arthur Onslow, known as the Great Speaker, to commemorate his retirement from the post he held for 33 years.”

It won’t be possible to confirm the full list of items saved or lost until the final assessment and salvage operation is completed.

Photographic, 3D laser and geophysical surveys are all helping with the assessment of the site along with new aerial footage of the building which can be viewed here

Shepherd found for Snowdonia project

The National Trust has appointed a second shepherd to support its innovative conservation project in the foothills of Snowdon in North Wales.

Daniel Jones, 36, from Anglesey will support the current shepherd, Bryn Griffiths at the conservation charity’s in-hand farm, Hafod-y-Llan in caring for the 1600 flock of Welsh Mountain sheep during daylight hours for the next five months.

He will be joined by his two sheepdogs, Jill and Nel.

Daniel Jones with his sheepdogs Jill and Nel in his new role at Hafod Y Llan. Credit Gerallt Llewellyn

Daniel Jones with his sheepdogs Jill and Nel in his new role at Hafod Y Llan. Credit Gerallt Llewellyn

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Magna Carta commemorated 800 years on

Eight hundred years ago today at Runnymede, Magna Carta was sealed by King John in front of the feudal barons. ‘The Great Charter’ held the king accountable to the law. As witness to the historic events of 15 June 1215, Runnymede is seen by many as the foundation of liberty. Continue reading

National Trust reveals potential with badger vaccination programme conclusion

The National Trust revealed today that it had slashed the costs of vaccinating badgers during a four year project at its Killerton estate in Devon, set in the heart of one of the country’s bovine TB hotspots.

The aim of the project, funded by the conservation charity, was to demonstrate that the vaccination of badgers at an estate-wide scale can be made practical and cost-effective. This has meant that the National Trust can play an important part in reducing the exposure of cattle to bovine TB in wildlife, which has had a devastating impact across the farming community.

Vaccinating badgers in order to reduce their level of bovine TB infection will reduce the risk of cattle being exposed to the disease.

18 National Trust tenant farmers were involved in the programme which was carried out across an area of 20 square kilometres on the south west estate.

When it launched in 2011, the Trust estimated that the project would cost £80,000 a year to administer. During the four years, however, the process of capturing and vaccinating the badgers became more efficient, reducing the annual costs to £45,000 while the number of badgers vaccinated increased significantly from the first year.

Patrick Begg, Rural Enterprises Director for the National Trust, said: “As a major landowner with many farming tenants, we understand how devastating an outbreak of bovine TB can be. That’s why it’s important for us to play our part in tackling this disease by finding a practical solution to prevent its spread.

“As well as calling for better biosecurity, we started the project at Killerton to show how badger vaccination can be deployed over a large area, which we’ve done. Now we want to share this knowledge and the lessons we’ve learnt with the opening of Killerton as a national training school for the vaccination of badgers.”

Working alongside trainers from Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), the Killerton estate will host training courses aimed at farmers and landowners in affected areas. The course will provide attendees with the skills required to obtain a license to trap and vaccinate badgers.

Patrick Begg continued: “Whatever the conclusions about whether the pilot culls are effective, vaccination needs to be part of the mix of measures needed to tackle bovine TB. We’d like to see the Government working with partners to carry out further testing to show its effectiveness as part of a multi-pronged approach to tackling the disease.”

The National Trust is continuing its support of badger vaccinations by also working with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, NFU and CLA on a vaccination programme in Derbyshire.
The programme will see badgers vaccinated over the next four years in an area focussing on 26 square kilometres of farmland and National Trust land in and around Edale and the Peak District National Park, following funding of £98,600 from Defra.

Carl Hawke, National Trust’s Wildlife and Countryside Adviser in Derbyshire, said: “We’re really pleased to be part of this project. We’ve employed a project co-ordinator and recruited volunteers to work alongside Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s team to ensure we vaccinate as many badgers as possible over the next four years.”

National Trust gardens star once again in Open Garden Squares Weekend

The National Trust is inviting visitors to enjoy and explore the unique gardens of seven of its London properties on 13 and 14 June as part of Open Garden Squares Weekend 2015.

The gardens at Osterley Park and House in London. Credit National Trust Images

The gardens at Osterley Park and House in London. Credit National Trust Images

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Wildlife on the Great Orme

Matthew Oates, National Specialist on Nature and Wildlife for the National Trust, shares his love for the Great Orme in North Wales and the wildlife that calls it home.

The Great Orme is a place of pilgrimage for British naturalists.  Try finding a botanist or a butterfly enthusiast who hasn’t been there, or at least one who doesn’t desperately want to visit.  It is also on the birders’ radar, for its increasing Chough population and because it is a place where rare migrants turn up.  Bat, beetle, lichen, moss, moth and marine wildlife enthusiasts also know and love the Great Orme, as do geologists, geographers and archaeologists. In effect, it is a wildlife paradise.

The Great Orme, 12/05/15. Photograph Richard Williams richardwilliamsimages@hotmail.com 07901518159

The Great Orme, Credit National Trust, Richard Williams

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