Flat out

Live audio feed from The Spit, South Walney Island, Cumbria, UK

Opening: Friday 30 to Saturday 31 August 2019
Runs: 30 August to 29 September 2019

Lofoten International Arts Festival, Svolvær, NO

Join Soundcamp and other listeners talking about the sounds from the intertidal zone. Contributions by IRC chat and / or email will be printed out in real time on a dot matrix printer in the old printworks at Svolvær. Take part from wherever you are / are not:

1. Go to the IRC Chat (no account setup or password needed; just choose a nickname and confirm you are not a robot)
2. Send an image etc as an email attachment to (please note that your attachment will print, but not the text of the email. For text, go to the Chat)

The Spit

A thin strip of land partly divides the Irish Sea from an expanse of mudflats at Morecambe Bay.


While in some ways a remote location, South Walney is joined by a bridge to the town of Barrow-in-Furness. Local features include Europe's largest off-shore windfarm, the highest concentration of nature reserves per capita nationally, internationally significant (RAMSAR) sites for migrating birds, and the fabrication point for the UK's nuclear submarine fleet.

The microphones and streaming equipment are installed at the south end of Walney Island, an area off limits to human visitors to avoid disturbing gulls, seals and shingle flora. The streambox is operated as a collaboration between the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Full of Noises and Soundcamp. It is part of an open microphone network initiated by Locus Sonus, who make the sounds available on a live soundmap. We welcome new sounds on the network. For approaches and support, go to stream.

The live sounds reflect the flat, exposed location of the streambox and the movement of the sea and sediments over a long tidal run. This is heard as the calls of birds and seals alternately withdrawing and approaching in time with the exposure and covering of the mud. Other sounds that can be heard include: low pitched rumble of wind hitting the microphone capsules; gulls, waders and insects in flight; cattle (mooing, crunching); passing ships; helicopters servicing off-shore rigs; military test flights; seals (sighing, singing)..

Join the discussion.


Andrew Deakin
Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Full of Noises
Locus Sonus
Sarah Dalrymple

Image: The Spit, South Walney by Sam Baraitser Smith.
From a remote screenshot by Dawn Scarfe of the South Walney webcam 2019-05-21 at 15.01.38

Supported by LIAF and Arts Council England