What is your favourite British seaside sound?

British Library to store the top sounds of the sea - and you can vote for the best


Offshore wind turbines research

There are few things that evoke the feeling of the British seaside more than the sounds of waves breaking against the shore, children playing with buckets and spades, even seagulls screeching as they chase you for your fish and chips.

See also: Britain's best places to stay beside the sea

In fact, these sounds are so important to our heritage that they are being transformed into a 'sound map' of the British coastline – and you get to vote which ones make the cut.

Public urged to record shore sounds

The British Library's Sound Archive is a collection of more than 6.5 million sounds dating back to the birth of audio recording in the 19th century.

The finished project is set to take three months and will be made up of recordings of our favourite sounds from different points along the full 775 miles of British coastline.

The selected recordings will also be used to create a new piece of coast-inspired music, created by Martyn Ware of Human League and Heaven 17.


Why should we care? The whole point of the scheme, run by National Trust, National Trust for Scotland and the British Library, is to encourage Britons to get involved in identifying and becoming more familiar with the diversity of our own coast. That's according to Cheryl Tipp, curator of wildlife and environment sounds at the British Library.

Almost 400 sounds have already been uploaded by the public for the scheme in just six weeks, and a final 10 have been selected for a public vote online.

And the finalists are...

1. Children playing – Brean Sands, Somerset

2. Dredging for oysters – Brightlingsea, Essex

3. Ferries in the fog – River Mersey, Merseyside

4. Ghost train ride – Brighton, West Sussex

5. Kittiwakes – Northumberland

6. Raft race – Mumbles, South Wales

7. Seagulls – Monreith, Scotland

8. Seals calling and snorting – Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland

9. "Singing" Sands – Eigg, Scottish Hebrides

10. Waves breaking on the beach – Trwyn Llanbedrog, Wales

Ms Tipp said: "We want to showcase some of the best sounds while encouraging more people to get involved, especially over the summer holiday period.

"The poll will help us identify what people find so special about the coast; what sounds can truly transport them there and are so important to them."Already keen to get started on his part of the project, Mr Ware described the variety of sounds selected for the poll as "something beautiful to behold".

"There are human stories, working stories, unusual weather events, seaside fun, and, most of all, the immensely calming and contemplative sounds on the natural world, embodied by the great variety of wave impacts on our shores, the incredible number of different types of bird life, seals, dolphins, porpoises – even the sounds of dredging for oysters and mussels."

The public poll is open until August 27. To hear the sounds and take part in the poll, which is open until August 27, and to find out more about the "sounds of our shores" scheme people can visit:

Your pics: The best of the British seaside

Your pics: The best of the British seaside

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