churchyard railings

My Walk this Week 144 – One Way To the Marsh Churchyard

My walk this week is a one way walk across our local marsh to the old St Teilo’s churchyard. I have walked this route many times before, and posted about it, but on this occasion the marsh grass is taller than I have seen it for several years – and they are my favourite aspect of the marsh.

dancing marsh grass

Bending as it does in the wind, and curving round to see the sun, it appears to me to be dancing – a busy chorus line of uniform activity responding to the elements and singing in their dry rustley voices as the breeze shuffles them together. Continue reading

Estuary sunset

My Walk this Week 132 – Estuary Sundown and Soundscape

My walk this week at sundown in Llanelli Bay on the Loughor Estuary allowed me to look out across the mudflats and listen to the gentle ambience of the place as well as enjoy the colours and reflections of the golden sunlight.

mud flat reflections

Like the background sound of a light aircraft on my walk last week in Swansea Bay, there was the almost constant sound of vehicles on the mud and sand doing an unknown but seemingly specific task. However, it did not spoil the soundscape and the calls of various birds mingled with those of children and excited dogsContinue reading

Station exterior wall

The Train Leaving the Station is . . .

My walk this week has been around the area next to Bristol Temple Meads and at the end of this architectural walk I entered the railway station, not just to view its structure and design but talso to listen to its sounds.

Bristol Templemeads

The start of my soundscape for this walk, like the photos posted at the start of the week, provide some evidence of people – footsteps and voices – but not nearly as much as you might expect for the number of people that were actually there. Perhaps the sounds of human voices and the actions of individuals were being absorbed or muffled by the three dimensional complexity of the city’s architecture and the activities taking place, such as building construction, trains, traffic, etc.

The sounds inside the station were, as you would expect, different. Aside from the echo and reverberation of the cavernous space, the density of people and subsequently their voices and conversations rose to another level. And then the trains arrived and the background ambience changed again – until the train left.

This walk did not involve much in the way of nature and for me there is no question about which is more pleasant and relaxing (a natural environment), but I still find the urban environment of huge interest and I am just as fascinated by the textures, patterns, shapes and colours to be seen and heard around me in the city as I am in a wood or on a mountain – less relaxed but still interested.

Bristol City Soundscape

Happy New Year – Reviewing the Forest Walks

Looking forward to 2017 and back at my walks in the forest from July to December in 2016, I have selected from my posts over the last week photos representing walks I have taken in each of the last 6 month of the year. The soundscape is from September and is the full length version of the clip I posted for September last Wednesday. The ambience of the place is unique – the atmospheric conditions were such that there is almost an echo of my footsteps as I walk between the trees. It is still, the birds are singing and there is occasional traffic on the road below or in the distance.

As I am using a soundscape from September, here is a sunrise from that same month, looking across the valley before I enter the forest.

September Sunrise

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My Walk this Week – Urban Lakeside

My walk this week is around an urban lake that I have visited before but not at this time of year. It had been my intention to take my camera and sound kit with me but as I was focusing on the meeting I had before this walk, I completely forgot the kit and had to use my iPhone for both photography and sound recording.

Sunlight through trees

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Stepping Out and Susurrus at Three Cliffs Bay

As we were stepping out across the stepping stones at Three Cliffs Bay on this Taste of Gower circular walk fro the Gower Heritage Centre, I noted the different ambient sound.

It may be expected that the sound of the sea will be different to that of a woodland but the susurration of the wind in trees is not so very different to that of a gentle sea as it washes distantly over a sandy beach. It is different though – the open space seems to me to be one of the greatest influencing factors and with eyes closed or not knowing where you are, these different ambient sounds would give you a pretty good clue as to your surroundings.

The next Taste of Gower walk will be tomorrow 26/08/17 – details here.

Stepping Stones

Stepping Stones

If you ignore the sound of footsteps in the sound clips below, perhaps you will agree that the word susurrus could be used to describe the background ambience of both soundscapes. According to the dictionary I could also have used the word to describe what I called the murmur of voices as the walking group disappeared off into the distance in previous posts on my walk this week, but personally I prefer the onomatopoeia of “murmur” for voices and “susurrus” for the wind or sea. What do you think?

Sound of the Sea

Walking in the Woods

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Gateway on Gower

Leaving the woodland by a kissing gate on my walk this week held the Taste of Gower group of walkers up enough for me to catch up with them . . . momentarily! It wasn’t long before their conversation became a murmur in the distance and the quietening ambience took over in this area between the woodland and the sea of the Bristol Channel.

The next Taste of Gower walk will be this coming Friday 26/08/17 – details here.

kissing gate

Quietening Ambience

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My Walk this Week – Swansea Bay 360

My walk this weak is in Swansea Bay on the beach in front of Crymlin Burrows and Swansea Uni Bay Campus will reveal what may be turning into an obsession with sand.

The tide was as far out as I have ever seen it and as I stood in the middle of its seemingly vast expanse and turned around the full 360 degrees I could see that the sand in this part of the bay is much more sculpted by the tide than it is in front of the city itself. This is not revealed much in these panoramic shots but I will post some of the patterns created in the sand through the week.

Swansea Bay

The soundscape of the beach is quite different to the wild blast of wind blowing on Colwyn Bay in my walk last week. Listen below to the ambience with the occasional distant sound of birds or voices from a small group of people and the faint backdrop of traffic.

Swansea Bay Ambience

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Sensory Perception at the Lakeside

Nearing the end or turning point of my walk this week, I emerged from the riverside woodland footpath at the Enterprise Park near Llansamlet in Swansea. This zone has grown over the years and one of its main characteristics is that you are almost forced to take the car from place within the zone.

However, despite the sound of passing traffic (below), once I had crossed the road I was able to enjoy the lake that forms a central feature in the area. As in any urban area, there is always the background sound of city activity and traffic, but the lake here forms an essential and effective oasis from all that.

Lakeside

We need these oases in modern urban living, but it is not just a matter of them existing. We need to make sure we use them as they were intended and enjoy the natural benefits they can bring on a regular basis.

Walking around a lake or park, down a tree-lined street, along a river, we are offered the opportunity to not just exercise of our limbs, but also to exercise our sensory perception. Looking and/or listening is possible for almost everyone and in my experience is well worth it.

Passing Traffic

Lakeside Ambience

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