The UK National Parks Soundmap - a partnership with the UK Acoustics Network
The UK National Parks Soundmap brings together an eclectic and immersive collection of sounds that capture the essence of national parks - from quirky local traditions to the soundtrack of nature.
The project aims to ask how these sounds affect our lives, our health and our sense of wellbeing.
National Parks throughout the country have contributed and the project’s ambition is to expand this to a wide range of audio experiences.
In the Peak District, we're grateful to Mark Gwynne-Jones from Voices from the Peak for his contribution.
Visit the map - click/touch below...
To find out more about how to contribute a high quality sound recording to the map, please visit project page.
Why is listening important?
Chris Watson - BAFTA-winning BBC field recordist
We are all good listeners.
40,000 years ago, around the world in Argentina, Borneo, New Mexico and Europe, we were mostly living in caves and natural shelters. These people were hunter gatherers who enlivened their living spaces with drawings and paintings of the animals they shared the landscape with. Most likely the sounds of these animals were also performed alongside the flickering flames of firelight through which the images were viewed. These people were in very close contact with a sense and spirit of place because their lives depended upon it. I like to think that during the night when the group was asleep, a pack of spotted hyenas or a sabre-toothed tiger may have crept inside searching for a meal. Those people, our ancestors, who heard the predator approach, woke up and escaped. Those who didn’t hear the threat came to a swift evolutionary dead end.
Of course we don’t have ear lids, we are still listening when asleep. Unfortunately today we spend most of our waking hours processing out the challenges of noise pollution in order to simply focus on our daily activities. The National Parks in this respect are a vital resource as places of refuge and respite from much of this barrage. We need places where there is very little noise pollution, so we may open our ears to listen and re-engage with our landscapes. This is not just some artistic whim, we need areas of tranquillity within our National Parks to assist in restoring and maintaining our psychological health and wellbeing. I suspect that deep down in our psyche we already know this, we simply need to act.
Other ways to connect with sound and nature
Look Wild uses a free nature identification app that will name plants and animals for you and contribute to a huge National Park-led citizens' science project at the same time. It’s free to learn about the natural world around you and do your bit to protect it at the same time.
iNaturalistUK is an app which allows you to connect with nature by exploring and sharing your observations from the natural world.
The Wildlife Sound Recording Society is a website set up to help you record and learn about the sounds made by wildlife and the natural world.