Felbrigg, Norfolk, UK
A stereo air microphone installed in an area of Carr Woodland on the Felbrigg Hall Estate, Norfolk, UK
HomeSounds is working with the National Trust through its Riverlands Upper Bure project to bring the diverse acoustic habitats of the River Bure in Norfolk, UK, to new audiences. This will be achieved through the installation of a series of live-streaming microphones sited within the River Bure catchment on the Felbrigg and Blickling Estates.
‘Through sensory activities we want people to build connections to nature that allow them to discover our diverse landscapes, to access and enjoy more of their local river, feeling a sense of belonging where everyone is welcome.’
Acoustic habitats of the river, both above and below the waterline, will be live-streamed through the Locusonus Soundmap across a period of 2 years. Alongside the microphone installations will run a program of engagement encouraging audiences to become active in their environmental listening.
The microphone is located in an area of ‘carr’ woodland fringing the lake at Felbrigg. Carr (derived from the Old Norse kjarr, meaning swamp) is a rare habitat of waterlogged woodland, dominated by tree species such as alder and willow which thrive in wet conditions. The carr has developed around Felbrigg pond, which was formed when Scarrow Beck, a small tributary of the Bure was dammed by William Windham III in 18th century as part of his development of the surrounding Park.
The lake and surrounding woodland are home to a range of wildlife; dragonflies and damselflies are abundant over the water in the summer, the reedbeds support nesting birds such as reed bunting and sedge warbler, and otters are frequently seen. In summer the area provides an important feeding ground for bats including the water loving daubenton’s bat and the rare barbastelle. In autumn and winter the open water attracts wildfowl and cormorants roost in the lakeside trees.
National Trust has worked to return the beck drains into the pond to a more natural form, creating wet grassland which can provide breeding habitat for declining wading birds such as lapwing and snipe. These habitat improvements have also had the effect of lowering the amount of nutrients that enter the lake from the surrounding catchment, improving water quality which had declined significantly during the latter part of the last century.
THE RIVER BURE:
‘There are just over 200 chalk-stream rivers around the world and the River Bure is one of them. Because there are so few of them, it makes the Bure all the more special.
They are arguably some of our most beautiful rivers too when they’re healthy, with crystal-clear water from underground chalk springs making them the perfect sources of clean water and ideal habitats in which wildlife can thrive, which is why we need to protect them.
Rising in Melton Constable and passing through both the National Trust's Blickling and Felbrigg estates, the River Bure flows into the internationally important Norfolk Broads, which is Britain’s largest designated wetland and a haven for wildlife.
Historically this river has supported life in the catchment by providing fertile land for farming, water meadows for grazing, power for milling and fisheries for commercial and recreational exploitation. Over time this has reduced the health of the river and the landscape it supports.’