Wild Rumpus, the organisers behind Timber Festival a three-day festival that celebrates people’s connection to trees and woodlands, has joined forces with England’s Community Forests - of which the Forest of Marston Vale is one - and a network of 10 Community Radio Stations to create the first ever Community Forest Sound Map.

Launched on International Day of Forests (Sunday 21 March) the project is asking people to visit their local forest, wood or park and contribute audio recordings to the Your Forest soundmap. When collecting sounds, we ask people to stay local & observe social distancing.

The Your Forest radio series also launched on 21st March, running for 4 weeks and exploring the importance of forests to our local communities. Listeners are invited to discover the health boosting benefits of spending time amongst the trees with ‘This Morning’ GP, Dr Zoe Williams and Black Girls Hike founder, Rhiane Fatinikun. Find out more about the wildlife you can spot in your local woodland with author and podcaster, Melissa Harrison and Mya-Rose Craig, aka ‘Birdgirl’.  The series also looks to the future of our town and city centre buildings - with their very own sprouting forests!

Trees and forests in and around our towns and cities are so important, for exercise, play, access to nature, health and well-being. Your Forest aims to connect people in towns and cities with trees – and one another – by gathering the sounds of local community forests to create a ‘soundmap’. Each one-minute recording might include the sound of the wind in the trees or the birds singing, but it might also have the noise of children playing or the traffic in the background. 

Rowan Cannon and Sarah Bird, directors of Wild Rumpus said,

"It's really easy to underestimate the impact of our forest spaces but lockdown has really highlighted their power. The process of stopping and recording and the process of listening can be really impactful. Hopefully Your Forest can show the unifying power of nature. In a time where we remain physically distant urban forests provide hope, connection and community.

Getting outside where there are trees and greenspaces can invoke an intimate and visceral connection with nature. You don't have to travel to wild and untouched areas to feel the power and the benefit of trees. A few trees in an urban space can provide the same connection. The health benefits of nature are well documented and we hope the project inspires people to take time for themselves to enjoy the sense of well-being the trees can provide."

What does your local woodland, forest or tree-lined park sound like?  What do you love about it?  Go to your favourite spot – or discover a new one – and use your phone to record a minute of the sounds you hear.

These sounds will then form an open source library that anyone can listen to or create from. Research shows that even just listening to the sounds of nature can have a positive effect on well-being and mood.  Anyone can explore the sounds of nature from the comfort of home by clicking on a pin on the map.

Your Forest brings together 10 Community Radio stations across England who will broadcast a special series looking at themes relating to urban forests.

To submit your sounds go to wildrumpus.org.uk/yourforest

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