Created by: Hugh Huddy
Started: March 29th, 2020
Status: Active, 211 episodes
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Steep grassy meadows. Grazing sheep. Overgrown hedgerows. Thickets. Narrow stony streams, sometimes with sandy banks. Grit stone walls, with tumbled stones where weather and animals have made a way through. Thistles. Clumps of dense nettles. Patches of tall, well established woodland. A muddy farm beyond. And another behind. And hours, if you want, if you allow yourself, to lean elbows upon damp timbered gates, Put aside what’s to do, and focus every part of your conscious mind on taking the landscape in.
Meteorological spring is approaching. Mornings are getting lighter. Song birds have found their voices, and though it’s still early in the mating season, are already decorating the hour around daybreak with mellifluous sound. In a few short months, it will peak.
Slide 1: Its the middle of the night. The Lento box is recording alone, tied to a cold, stark railing, that descends down the seawall into the water. Its an ear-witness to the nocturnal sound of this estuary place. East of Burnham-on-Crouch, facing due south, across the river, to Wallasea Island on the other side. There’s a bare wind, and the tide is out. Out, but on the turn. On the turn, and rising.
Fresh rain. Fresh woodland rain, from Miller’s Dale in Derbyshire. From a hedgehog’s perspective. Low on the forest floor, amidst the leaf litter, and the tangled ivy. A hidden hedgehog’s place where only raindrops that have missed every leaf, twig and branch above, lands.
Below a stone circle high on Dartmoor called the Nine Maidens, there’s a stream. It threads its way down through steep sloping pastures. In the distance, just a fine, silvery, crooked line. It enters an area of dense forest. Becomes enmeshed with the sound signatures of tall, reflective, overhanging trees. Of sparse woodland birds. And disappears over a waterfall, into a deep wooded gorge.
There are spacious places in the world, where outcrops of woodland can be heard singing together in strong winter gales. Upland places. Uninhabited places. Naturally exposed, where the upper reaches of the land meet with the sky.
The night we captured this soundscene of Cooden Beach in East Sussex, there was a brisk onshore breeze blowing in from the west. West is to the right of scene, where the incoming waves can sometimes be heard making first landfall. It’s February. It’s coming up to 11pm. The sky is a deep dark velvet, and the clean sea air, is hovering around 6 degrees centigrade. Nobody is about.
Three o’clock has struck. Up steep ladders, on the top platform of the belfry inside Rye Church, the ancient clock counts through this small night hour. Its regular sound blends with long and undulating gusts of fresh sea air. Air that’s travelled, over miles of sand, shingle and marshland, from out on the open sea.
When Chloe is sent off to live with her mysterious and eccentric grandmother she learns an unbelievable secret. Grandma Ivy is none other than Mother Nature herself! And Chloe is next in line to assume to the power and responsibility of the job. Can a twelve-year old learn to balance the entire world’s ecosystem while just trying to fit in at her new school? Only Mother Nature knows.
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