Nature Sound of the Month: Plants and you

A huge thank you to everyone who took part in the challenge last month. I hope you’ve enjoyed capturing your sounds as much as I’ve enjoyed listening to them. Check out the round-up of sounds from animal life in the previous post today.

Theme of the month: Plants and you

When we think of the sounds of nature, we don’t often think of plants. We don’t hear them grow or die. We see them, we touch them, we smell them, and we also eat them. But what sounds do they create?

Do you remember the sound of a rose’s stem being cut? What about your breath blowing on a puffy dandelion to make the seeds fly away? And the sound of wheat as you walk through a field? Or even the crackling of dry algae on a beach?

So this month I’m asking you to listen to your interaction with plants.

What is it about?

There are many challenges out there to help you make the most of the outdoors, but more often than not they focus on what you see rather than what you hear. Visuals can certainly be stunning but they are not always present. Close your eyes and the scenery is gone. This is not so with sounds. You cannot close off your ears. You can ignore the sounds but they are here nonetheless and some part of you are registering them. So this challenge focuses on sounds, specifically nature sounds, and asks you to get out there and record them.

How does it work?

On the 1st of every month, I’ll publish a post with a prompt for what to listen to. This prompt is aimed to help you open your ears to nature and is by no means a rule to follow. You can record something else if another sound picks your interest.

Continue reading

Nature Sound of the Month – April round-up

Last month, the nature sound of the month focused on animal life, asking you to focus your attention to the wildlife around you. Here is what has been captured:


Recorded by Still Walks


Recorded by me

Thanks a lot to everyone who took part. I hope you’ve enjoyed listening out for sounds and will join again this month. The new theme will be published later today.

Other nature sounds that caught my ear in April:
by Colin Hunter

by Memorial Bench

by Reuben Derrick

What have you been listening to this past April?

Nature Sound of the Month: Animal life

A huge thank you to everyone who took part in the challenge last month. I hope you’ve enjoyed capturing your sounds as much as I’ve enjoyed listening to them. Check out the round-up of sounds from parks in the previous post today.

Theme of the month: Animal life

Nature isn’t all about the elements, trees and flowers. There is a huge number of living creatures that populates it. From large to small, animal life is an important part of nature.

There are birds flying overhead and singing their delightful songs to attract mates, send off warnings, or find one another. There are mammals, each with their own cry, roar, or bark. But there are also fish, underwater and the opposite of silent. Of course you can also find insects and many other category I’m sure I’m forgetting.

Whatever your focus this month, let’s all listen to wildlife around us.

What is it about?

There are many challenges out there to help you make the most of the outdoors, but more often than not they focus on what you see rather than what you hear. Visuals can certainly be stunning but they are not always present. Close your eyes and the scenery is gone. This is not so with sounds. You cannot close off your ears. You can ignore the sounds but they are here nonetheless and some part of you are registering them. So this challenge focuses on sounds, specifically nature sounds, and asks you to get out there and record them.

How does it work?

On the 1st of every month, I’ll publish a post with a prompt for what to listen to. This prompt is aimed to help you open your ears to nature and is by no means a rule to follow. You can record something else if another sound picks your interest.

Continue reading

Nature Sound of the Month: March round-up

Last month, the nature sound of the month focused on the seasonal change, asking you to focus your attention to the turning of time around you. Here is what has been captured:


Recorded by Adam Canning


Recorded by Still Walks


Recorded by me

Thanks a lot to everyone who took part. I hope you’ve enjoyed listening out for sounds and will join again this month. The new theme will be published later today.

Other nature sounds that caught my ear in March:
by Highlands Soundscapes

by blafonx – field recording

by ioflow

What have you been listening to this past March?

Coppicing at Stockwood Open Space

‘Does everybody know what coppicing is,’ Anna, from the Forest of Avon Trust, asked. The ten people facing her replied with complete silence in spite of most of the group knowing very well what it involved.

‘Well, in case someone is not sure, coppicing is a traditional management of woodlands,’ she began to explain. And I was glad she had chosen to. When signing up to volunteer my time to do some coppicing in Stockwood Open Space, I had only a vague idea of what it was. I had heard of it, and I knew the reasons behind it but I was very unclear about the details. I wasn’t even sure of the correct pronunciation of the word, having only ever read it.

‘We cut down young trees to ground level. This doesn’t kill them. They will regrow. What it does is allow us to harvest the wood, and manage the growth of trees in woodlands. We do it in rotation so different areas of woodlands are at a different stage of growth, providing a rich variety of habitats for invertebrates, birds, and other species.’

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I nodded, my vague notion of the term a little more concrete. Anna carried on talking about the growth cycle of woods before turning our attention to the tools and methods of coppicing. There were pruning saws, bow saws, billhooks, gloves, and hard hats. We were drilled through the safe use of all the instruments, paired up, and sent to work.

The group spread naturally through the areas and without further ado we began to saw the wood. I watched my partner cut effortlessly through small stumps and began imitating his gestures, pretending I had a vague idea of what I was doing. We pruned one tree, the stump and branches laid carefully to one side for later use. Moving to the next tree, I glanced at it and said ‘Should we start with the smaller surrounding shoots before tackling that bigger one?’ It was the obvious thing to do and didn’t need speaking about. But by voicing it, I felt like I was in control of the situation. I knew what I was doing now. There are many things I don’t know about coppicing, but the vague notion I had at the start of the day, had turned into something I understood and could explain to others.

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We carried one sawing, taking turn with the bow saw for the bigger stumps. Around us, the wood cracked and fell, the mud cushioned our steps, and Anna’s voice distilled advice and knowledge gained through years of work. She weaved her way between us, keeping a watchful eye on our gestures and collecting branches for the kettle she had brought.

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Slowly the ancient smell of burning twigs filled the air and we gathered around the fire for a cup of tea and a bite to eat. Conversations flowed easily, drifting away from woodlands and back to it as Anna told us we would build a hedge after lunch. The smaller branches we had cut down would be laid down between larger stumps to create a habitat for invertebrates. Ten people weren’t needed to construct the hedge so most people went back to their trees, finishing what they had began. But my partner and I had run out of trees to coppice, so we set out to gather the felled wood from the others to feed the hedge. Branches were laid down, more hands came to join us, and soon our wooden wall was taking shape and expanding fast. We had built a hedge.

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Taking a step back, I took it in. This had been a day’s work with ten volunteers. I could only imagine how long those tasks would take for a whole woodland. But then, we hadn’t used power tools, we had chatted a lot, and we had taken our time. But it had been good and expanded my skills and knowledge of trees. I smiled as I noticed other members of the group taking photos of the hedge. They too were proud of the work we had achieved.

Anna lingered for a while longer, answering our last questions before we all parted way, half of us carrying some of our work home for fire or whittling.

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