Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership

The Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme aims to unlock and reveal the hidden heritage of the Westmorland Dales, enabling more people to connect with, enjoy and benefit from this inspirational landscape. Thanks to National Lottery players it has been supported by a grant from the Heritage Fund

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Children from Crosby Ravensworth, Great Asby, Orton, Shap, Tebay and Kirkby Stephen Primary Schools have been working with Cumbrian sound artist, Dan Fox, to record pieces of music made entirely from natural sounds collected on a 'sound walk' around their villages.

Listen to all of the sound creations here>

The collection of short compositions include the sounds of flowing and bubbling streams, birdsong and echoes, the rush of the wind through the trees, the knocking of branches, the vibrations from the twanging of a fence and the voices of children taking part.

The ‘Sound Explorer’ project is one of many forming the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme, which has been funded by a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund with the aim to engage people in revealing, conserving, enjoying and sustaining the hidden heritage of the Westmorland Dales.

Class 2 pupils from Great Asby Primary School said:

“We learnt everything and anything can make sound. We were surprised at how quiet the garden ponds were and found twanging the metal fence really cool. Also who knew that grass can talk!”

During this unique group experience, Dan used industry standard, battery-powered location sound recording equipment linked via a wireless transmitter to each child wearing wireless headphones.

Different types of microphones were utilised to enable the group to listen to different aspects of the landscape. The sounds range from close-up sounds using hydrophones and contact microphones to a wider sonic image with boom microphones and a parabolic dish. The children’s favourite sounds were recorded during the walk, edited and mixed back in the classroom to create unique and immersive pieces of music.

The project closed with an online conference between all six of the schools involved, where the children got the opportunity to introduce and share their musical creations with each other. Dan was on hand to explain how the sounds in each piece were collected and how the children discovered the diversity of sounds.

Listen to all of the sound creations here>