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"Last Chance (HS)To See"

Thirty years ago the construction of the M40 had an indelible impact upon the landscape of the area. There are so many times since that I wish I'd recorded the landscape before construction, if only to make it easier to convey the state of the area today.
Now HS2 is coming. This time, I am able to record the event.

"Last Chance" collection: Index Central Area North Area South Area Soundscapes About

Click on the numbers on the map to jump to the page for that soundscape.

north scenes map

'Last Chance (HS)To Hear'

It seemed a natural extension, from images to soundscapes. It just took a little extra organization.

My recent walks along the route of HS2, in particular in Danesmoor and the Leam valley, made me realize the images are not enough. When I walk I'm probably using my ears far more than my eyes, to 'see' that which cannot easily be seen, and that needed to be reflected in the blog.

In these pages, as the opportunity arises, I'll collect a sample of environmental sounds from along the route of HS2 – both on the route, and some distance away.

This is not scientific; I won't be using calibrated recording equipment. Instead I want to represent the diversity of the audio landscape along the route of HS2.

As with the images blog, these soundscapes are designed to capture an essence of the scene before HS2 arrives.

Numbered index to soundscapes:

  1. An Otter Splashes on the River Leam
    A rather spectacular start to this experiment – an otter in the first thirty seconds!
    I'd intended, as an experiment, to record the sound of the river and the birdsong. Not long after I started, however, an otter glided by beneath the surface of the water, under the bridge – emerging downstream with a fish.
  2. Birdsong in the woods on Frith Hill
    Birdsong and the buzzing of insects on the edge of the Chiltern Tunnel portal on Frith Hill
    Standing on the edge of the woodland, near to what will be a large cutting at the portal of the Chilterns Tunnel, I've a recording problem; the profusion of insects means they keep flying into/bouncing off the microphone. In the end I walk around a little, trying to avoid them, capturing the sounds around the margin between the woodland and the field.