Stone worship

My first memory of seeing Stonehenge, that most majestic of neolithic monuments that dominates the Salisbury Plain landscape just west of Amesbury in Wiltshire, was from the back seat of my parent’s white Rover as we sailed – or crawled – along the A303, the highway to the sun on our…

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Nightsounds – a wasp nest in the shed

This spring an overwintering queen wasp vespula vulgaris emerged from hibernation and chose our shed as the site to create her colony. Colonies are usually formed below ground, as was the case in 2015, when I made this recording by the entrance hole under one of our flowerbeds. After initially…

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Curlew Calling

Curlews are in trouble. Big trouble. There are now only  68,000 breeding pairs in the UK each summer and that figure is falling.  A 46% decline in their numbers in 16 years (1994-2010) has seen one of our most iconic birds become the most threatened. Karen Lloyd, a writer of creative…

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….. worth two in the bush

The chance to join a bird ringing session was an opportunity not to be missed, so when friend and fellow WSRS member Bill Parker mentioned he would be ringing later that week, in a conversation during our recent sound recording trip to Somerset, I was quick to ask if I…

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The Height of the Reeds: Humber Bridge, Hull

The vast Humber Bridge is the focus of a new artwork for Hull UK City of Culture 2017. Norwegian musicians Jan Bang, Arve Henriksen, guitarist Eivind Aarset and Hull-based sound recordist Jez Riley French have created an interactive soundtrack – The Height of the Reeds – for Opera North, to be listened…

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The first croak is the sweetest

I think I was eleven or twelve, back when summer days lasted forever and the future was full of promise and sunshine, that with the help of my dad I taught myself to water-ski. We holidayed in Portscatho on the Roseland Peninsula in a little cottage in the heart of the village.…

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Dusk at St. David’s

When you dip down below the centre of St. David’s in Pembrokeshire, Britain’s smallest city and the final resting place of Wales’ patron saint, you enter a valley of peace and tranquility. Ivy-clad trees line the pre-medieval lane that leads steeply down to cross The River Alun at the valley bottom. The…

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