BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

Accessibility help
Text only
BBC Homepage
BBC Radio
BBC Radio 4 - 92 to 94 FM and 198 Long WaveListen to Digital Radio, Digital TV and OnlineListen on Digital Radio, Digital TV and Online

Radio 4 Tickets
Radio 4 Help

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!


Go to the Listen Again page
Monday 21:00-21:30
Repeat Tuesday 11:00
Nature offers a window on global natural history, providing a unique insight into the natural world, the environment, and the magnificent creatures that inhabit it.
LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 10 September
Paul Evans
Monday 10 September 2007
Dykes and ditches teeming with plants and wildlife at wicken Fen.
Dykes and ditches teeming with plants and wildlife at Wicken Fen.

NATURE: Sounds of Britian - Wicken Fen

In the first of three richly evocative sound portraits, writer and naturalist Paul Evans, and wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson, capture the spirit and sounds of Natural Britain, the first being Wicken Fen.

The programme tracks the course of a single day on this ancient landscape from before dawn until after dusk.   As the minutes pass, other birds join the cuckoo as the orchestra of the dawn chorus strikes up amongst the reeds. There’s the wren “For a bird which weighs as much as a hiccup, the wren has a ferociously powerful voice”, a songthrush, a blackbird and then the reed bed specialists; reed and sedge warbler, and perhaps strangest of all ”…What sounds like a rapidly winding fishing reel, or one of those clockwork toys which travels up a string, turns out to be a grasshopper warbler”.

As the sun rises and the dawn chorus fades, Paul explores the watery highways of the Fen in a flat bottomed green boat “like an upturned beetle”, in the company of Ralph Sergeant (a stalwart of Wicken Fen) and encounters a herd of Konik ponies, parachuting reed warblers, and a magnificent hissing swan. He then wanders round the reserve, intrigued by the poetry of place names and considers the history of the fens, their origin, and man’s abuse of our watery heritage.

As day turns to night, and the light fades, Paul clambers up the tall wooden tower which overlooks this fenland landscape, and listens to the churring of the insect night chorus, before heading off into the darkness with Ralph.

NATURE: the Sound of Britain – an absorbing evocative sound-rich portrait of one of Britain’s most iconic landscapes.
Listen Live
Audio Help
Leading Edge
The Only Great Ape In Asia
Goshawk Down
Extinction of Experience
Sounds of Britain - The Wrekin forest
Sounds of Britain - An urban Dawn Chorus
Sounds of Britain - Islay
Sounds of Britain - Wicken Fen
A Country fit for Cranes
The answer lies in the soil
Spring Questions
Songbird Special
Spring Blog
The Beetles - Here, There and Everywhere
Unearthing Buried Rivers
100 years of British Birds
The Plum Prospects for Orchard Conservation
Caledonian Pine
Winter Starlings
100 Years of The Guardian Country Diary
Coastal Squeeze
The Kite's Tale
Diary From A Strange Country
India's Blue Hills
Ups And Downs
The Urchin In Trouble
Why Garden For Wildlife?
The Sounds of Galapagos
What a Scorcher
In Search of the Emperor
One Hundred New Naturalists
The Rarity Factor
Phoenix Trees
Babbling Meerkats
In Search of Classic
The Lark Ascending
The Engabreen Glacier
Arabian Leopards
An Uphill Struggle
Frogs and Toads
Wild Escapees
Planet Earth Special
The Animal Image
Badgers: To cull or not to cull?
Artic Wolves
The Robin
Autumn Review
Bird Flu Special
Yellowstone Wolves
Trees of Trafalgar
Deep Sea, New Horizons
What's In A Name?
A Blight On The Landscape
New forest; ancient landscape
Great Ape Conservation
Ivory Bill in the Big Woods 
The Soft Estate
A Raw Deal for Reptiles
The Future of Spring
Restoring Spring
The History of Spring
Birds of Paradise
Peregrines In The City
Dancing Bears
Ocean Wanderers
Animal Instinct
The Life of Ferns
Midwinter Wonders
Avocet World
Amazon Adventure
The Clock of Life
Lechuguilla Cave

Back to Latest Programme
Science, Nature & Environment Programmes
Current Programmes
Archived Programmes

News & Current Affairs | Arts & Drama | Comedy & Quizzes | Science | Religion & Ethics | History | Factual

Back to top

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy