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Listen to the sounds of Waveney wildlife as sculpture trail returns

River Waveney Sculpture Trail 2015 at the River Waveney Study Centre.
Sound Artist Mike Challis with Nicky Stainton, Chair of Waveney and Blyth Arts.
Mike has built the Sound Hide out of Straw Bales.

Picture: James Bass

River Waveney Sculpture Trail 2015 at the River Waveney Study Centre. Sound Artist Mike Challis with Nicky Stainton, Chair of Waveney and Blyth Arts. Mike has built the Sound Hide out of Straw Bales. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2015

Following the success of last year's trail, the Waveney and Blyth Arts' River Waveney Sculpture Trail is returning to the 24 acre River Waveney Trust Site at Earsham.

Forty sculptures and installations from 32 Norfolk and Suffolk artists can be found on the trail among lakes and woodland in the beautiful area.

And this year something different has been added to the trail, a soundhide created to allow visitors a chance to hear the sounds of the Waveney Valley and a place for quiet reflection.

The straw and wooden structure, built by sound artist Mike Challis, will play sounds recorded on the site by Mr Challis, including barnacle geese, otters and bats.

“From January to July and at all times of the day and night I recorded the sounds of the area,” said Mr Challis, who has been a sound artist for 25 years. “On an August afternoon you don’t hear the dawn chorus from April and May and it acts as a way to take people back in time to hear it.

“You’re encouraged to sit and listen in the tranquil space.”

Mr Challis, from Debenham, spent 12 days altogether recording, five days editing the sounds and nearly three days constructing the soundhide. He has also included a sound panel on the outside of the structure so people can hear the sounds and see an image of the individual wildlife.

“I really enjoyed doing it and constructing it was a real family affair,” said Mr Challis. “I can’t wait for people to use it and to listen and enjoy the noises.

“With the sound panel people can see what animals have made the noises inside the soundhide. I think the children will enjoy pressing the buttons.

“I’ve had some great moments doing this but the most magical was early one morning I walked towards around 200 barnacle geese and they all flew away at once.”

Supported by Essex and Suffolk Water’s Branch Out fund, the trail is curated by artist Sarah Cannell and offers the chance to explore what is on show with an audio tour available for people to use.

“The River Waveney Trust want to promote the area to look after it and also so people can appreciate it,” said Nicky Stainton, chairman of Waveney and Blyth Arts.

“It’s lovely to come across a site like this which is still wild and untouched. It gives the artists an opportunity to respond to the setting. When I came down here two-and-a-half years ago I thought it would be a wonderful experiment to put on a sculpture display here.”

The trail is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from today until Sunday, September 16 and the August Bank Holiday Monday.

Opening times are 10am to 4pm with entry £4 for adults, free for under 18s and £3 for members of Waveney and Blyth Arts and River Waveney Trust.

For more information, call the Study Centre on 01986 893470 or visit http://www.waveneyandblytharts.com/

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