Video: National Trust launches crowd sourcing project to find the sounds of the Suffolk coast

A gull flying over Aldeburgh beach - Andrew Mutimer

A gull flying over Aldeburgh beach - Andrew Mutimer - Credit: citizenside.com

The clatter of buckets and spades, the call of the gull and the wash of the waves, all sounds which epitomise life on the Suffolk coast.

The Blue Flag-winning Southwold Beach is always popular

The Blue Flag-winning Southwold Beach is always popular - Credit: Archant

These archetypal seaside melodies from Southwold, Felixstowe, Aldeburgh, Lowestoft and Covehithe, are being used to create the first ever coastal sound map of the UK, and now is your chance to play a part.

The National Trust, along with the National Trust for Scotland and the British Library, have launched a three-month crowd sourcing sound project and are calling on beach lovers in Suffolk and elsewhere in East Anglia to upload their ‘sounds of our shores’, or share them via social media.

The 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.

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.

Crowds enjoy music from the Jam Sandwich Project at the bandstand on the beach in Aldeburgh for the

Crowds enjoy music from the Jam Sandwich Project at the bandstand on the beach in Aldeburgh for the Women's Tour last week. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown


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“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.”

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Musician, producer and founder member of Human League and Heaven 17, Martyn Ware, will be using the sound map to create a brand new piece of music.

The 20-minute soundscape, due for release in February next year, will transport listeners to the sensory richness of the coastline, capturing the sounds of work and play on the coast.

Sarah Arnold and Harvey Staines enjoy the beach at Felixstowe

Sarah Arnold and Harvey Staines enjoy the beach at Felixstowe - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

He 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.”

Sounds can be recorded on a smart phone, tablet or handheld recorder, and then uploaded to the map via the Sounds of our Shores audioBoom website or app - both are free and easy to use.

The sounds will then appear on the map. A sound clip from RSPB Minsmere has already been submitted but there is a call for more Suffolk residents to get involved.

All of the sounds should be a maximum of five minutes in length and images and words can be added. Clips must be uploaded by Monday, September 21.

To get involved in the project visit the coastal sounds website for top tips on recording and information about how to upload them on to the map. You can also share sounds on social media using #shoresounds.

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