Record the Sounds of Our Shores this Summer

October 2, 2015

The National Trust and the British Library have an interesting project this summer that you and your family can get involved with. Mike Collins from the National Trust tells us more…


Visit any beach during the summer holidays and one sound will stand out – kids having a great time. Excited voices and constant laughter fill the sky and make you smile.  The beach is fast becoming one the places of freedom and discovery for children.

Group of children running into the waves at Studland, Dorset.
Some of my fondest memories from when I was growing up are the times spent building sandcastles and popping those little flags into the turrets, hunting for creatures in rock polls or collecting shells. And now I can think to those days with my kids – jumping waves, body boarding and sliding down sand dunes.

This summer a new project called ‘sounds of our shores‘, and run by the National Trust, British Library and the National Trust for Scotland wants the nation to capture some of these sounds, for a new coastal sound project.  Yes we want the sounds from the wilder stretches of coastline but as important it the capturing a kind of sonic postcard of those classic days at the seaside.

There is a lot of coast to choose from around the UK – 10,800 miles and nearly a thousand Islands.  Generations of families have strong connections with the coast and the strong geographical links survive as people take their summer holidays by the sea – despite the temptation of holidays abroad.

Holiday crowds on Knoll Beach at Studland Bay, Dorset
Next time you’re on the beach take ten minutes and just listen to the richness of the sounds around you. The soundscape that you tune into will be really diverse.  Think of the tapping in of poles for those windbreaks, the gentle lapping of waves or the hustle and bustle of a fishing village.

Recording sounds is now pretty straightforward – the quality of microphones on smartphones and tablet computers is very good. Any sounds that appear on the map will be added to the Sound Archive at the British Library, one of the largest in the world.

If you’re heading to the seaside this summer we’d love to get your favourite sounds of our shores for this unique project helping your family to create a soundscape memory bank at the same time.

More information about the project and how to get involved can be found at

Photo Credits: The National Trust, David Levenson, Nick Meers

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