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Echoed Locations- Recording the Sounds of the Chilterns

Help record the sounds of the Chilterns

Noise. Something which is all around us and we mostly tune into either when it is an annoying sound (someone else’s music on the train, fighter jets overhead, rush hour traffic) or when we want to tune out of the environment around us (by plugging into a podcast or our favourite music). But what about all the noise we are not listening to, but which could have huge benefits for our mental health and wellbeing? This is where Echoed Locations comes in- a project aiming to create the first ever sonic map of the Chilterns.

Chilterns Conservation Board Echoed Locations

Initiated by the Chilterns Conservation Board as part of the Chalk, Cherries and Chairs Landscape Partnership, the project aims to create a sonic map of the Chilterns, which can be used as a resource for years to come. The project has designed sound recording workshops- available to local schools and community groups- which focus first on attentive listening, before moving on to practical and accessible sound recording techniques. The project aims to encourage residents, visitors and especially young people to contribute to the sonic map- but it isn’t just natural sounds that can be submitted.

You could record any of the following (and probably plenty we haven’t thought of) as part of the project:

  • Bird song in your local park
  • Rush hour traffic in Wycombe
  • Reading a poem
  • Singing a song
  • Interviewing your friend, or family member about what makes the Chilterns special to them
  • Rain on a windowpane
  • The babble of a little stream as it passes through a park
  • The chatter of children as they walk to school

When you read this list, hopefully you are thinking about just how many seemingly ordinary sounds like these are what make the Chilterns a unique and special place to live. Echoed Locations was developed because soundscapes (the overall sound ‘picture’ of a place) are unique and important and inform how we feel about a place. When you step off the bus as you arrive home, it is not just the smell of your neighbours’ garden or the sight of your front gate that makes you feel at home- it is likely also the steady hum of a radio nearby, your mother’s voice calling you inside, far away traffic rumbling by. It is only when these sounds are lost from our day-to-day lives do, we really begin to listen- for example, when you arrive in a wood where no birds are singing- it feels odd and we notice the absence of a familiar sound.

As the world around us changes, with increased urbanisation, big industrial projects and climate change, now is the perfect opportunity to record the soundscape of the Chilterns, as a legacy for generations to come. Soundscape recordings are increasingly being used by scientists around the world to monitor the health and biodiversity of natural environments, and this alone is a great reason to get outside and start contributing to this first ever sonic map of the Chilterns.

We want to stress, that no prior knowledge of sound recording is required to get involved! You can read a short ‘Sound Recording Top Tips’ document, as well as submit recordings and access our sonic map on the Chiltern Conservation Board’s website

So please submit your recordings (old or new) which represent sounds across the Chilterns that mean something to you and make this beautiful region feel like home. Recordings should be a minimum of 30 seconds long, and no longer than 10 minutes in total.

If you are interested in having a sound recording workshop held at your school or community group, please get in touch with Elizabeth Buckley on .

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