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Seagulls calling or ferries in the fog - vote for favourite coastal sound

Published 06/08/2015

Cheryl Tipp, curator of wildlife and environmental sounds at the British Library, at Birling Gap on the Sussex coast
Cheryl Tipp, curator of wildlife and environmental sounds at the British Library, at Birling Gap on the Sussex coast
Seagulls flocking near tourists on the seafront in Hove

From ghost train rides to ferries in the fog, children playing or waves breaking on the beach, the public are being asked to vote for their favourite coastal sound.

The poll is part of a three-month project in which people are being encouraged to record the noises of seashores across the UK in order to build up a "sound map" of the country's coastline that will be added to the British Library's Sound Archive.

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

Almost 400 sounds have already been uploaded by the public for the sounds of our shores scheme being run by the National Trust, National Trust for Scotland and the British Library.

Now 10 of the most evocative have been selected for a public vote in an online p oll, which aims to encourage more people to get involved and to help identify what makes the coasts special to Britons.

Cheryl Tipp, curator of wildlife and environment sounds at the British Library who has helped draw up the shortlist of 10 sounds, said: "In just six weeks we've had some brilliant recordings which show just how diverse the sounds of the coast really are.

"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.

"At the end of the project all the sounds that appear on the map will then be added to the British Library's Sound Archive, where they will join more than 6.5 million sounds dating back to the birth of recorded sound in the 19th century."

Mr Ware said the diversity of the sounds selected for the poll was "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."

He urged people to get involved with the project, saying: "G o to the coast, close your eyes and reawaken the most underrated sense of all - hearing - and pay attention to the beauty of your sensory environment and you will be repaid a thousandfold."

The sounds people are being asked to vote for 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.

:: 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:

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