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Open Country
Sat  6.10 - 6.35am
Thurs 1.30 - 2.00pm (rpt)
Local people making their corner of rural Britain unique
This week
Saturday 27 January 2007
Listen to this programme in full
On Open Country this week, Helen Mark is on a sonic treasure hunt.
A sense of place comes as much from the sounds of an area as the look of it.  And this week, Helen Mark is in Druridge Bay tracking down what the area sounds like.

She was set this sonic treasure hunt by Dr. Simon Elliott, a radiologist by day but whose hobby as a wildlife sound recordist has taken him all over Britain and the world. Simon captures recordings in unusual places for nature films and clients like  the British Library Sound Archive.  He gives Helen four sounds to track down.  
The first sound takes Helen to Cresswell, near the centre of the bay. There she takes in its full sweep with Duncan Hutt from the Northumberland Wildlife Trust . Duncan says there is a bit of a dispute as to where the bay actually begins and ends. 

Next, she travels up the coast to Amble Harbour, where she meets some of the perpetrators of the next mystery sound. Prof. John Coulson, a retired lecturer and researcher from the Durham University, gives Helen the history of the creatures, whom he’s studied for 50 years.

"You'll never believe what makes this sound," says Dr. Jane Delany from the Dove Marine Laboratory. Indeed, Helen is not only surprised by what made the third mystery sound, but also the other noises that come from just below the rocky sea shore line. 

Down at the end of Druridge Bay, in Newbiggin by the Sea, Helen finds her final sound. Ex-miner and now local historian Mike Kirkup tells her about how the coal in the area is so plentiful, it washes up on the beach – for easy picking. This sea coal provided a good living for villagers in years past, but only a few make use of it today. In fact, industrial noise is largely absent from what was once the North's biggest mining area.

Want the chance to play sonic detective? We've assembled an audio clip of the sounds Helen's tracked this week. Have a guess what they are. The answers will be revealed  here on Wednesday 31st January 2007. Good luck.

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