Help create a UK coastal sounds map

Your recordings are needed! The National Trust has teamed up with the British Library and National Trust for Scotland to make the UK’s first coastal sound map. Find out what it's all about and how to take part.


Cheryl Tipp, curator of wildlife and environmental sounds at the British Library, tells us about this exciting new project to capture the sounds of a summer by the sea.


What is Sounds of our Shores?

It's a community-led, interactive sound map. The project is running until 21 September, and asks members of the public to record and upload their favourite seaside sounds to help build a permanent digital resource of UK coastal recordings. This could be anything from a working fishing village, gentle waves lapping on a sandy beach or the kettle whistling from inside a beach hut.

Why create a UK coastal sounds map?

This year the National Trust is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Neptune Coastal Campaign, which has so far secured 775 miles of coastline around England, Wales and Northern Ireland for all to enjoy. We wanted to mark this important milestone and as sound is such an evocative medium, a sound map seemed the perfect choice. By pinning sounds on a map, listeners can easily explore the plethora of sonic memories submitted by coastal residents, holiday makers or day trippers and transport themselves to familiar coastal spots or discover new locations.

Why should BBC Wildlife readers take part?

BBC Wildlife readers have a great appreciation for our coastal wildlife. Sounds of our Shores is a great opportunity for them to let us know about their favourite coastal spots, with an emphasis on their sounds. 

How can BBC Wildlife readers get involved?

Simply go to your favourite coastal locations and record the sounds that most represent those places. You can use a smartphone, tablet or handheld recorder. The sound files can then be uploaded to our audioBoom channel (via the audioBoom app or via the website). From there, sounds will be migrated onto a map hosted by the British Library. 

What will the British Library do with the recordings?

Once the crowdsourcing part of the project comes to an end in September, all recordings submitted will be archived at the British Library. We hope this collection will form a much-loved part of the library’s sound archive. 

What will the sounds tell us about coastal wildlife in the UK?

The project is only running during the summer of 2015, so we won’t be able to showcase the sounds produced during winter. Recordings collected during the course of the project will tell us where particular species choose to make their homes and which species they live alongside. The project will also reveal unexpected sounds - a sea snail feeding on algae in a rockpool, for instance. 


Test your wildlife knowledge in our coastal sounds quiz.

Find out more about Sounds of our Shores.

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