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The Old Railway Path – Sound Installation by Chris Watson

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Our Artist in Residence for Nature Unwrapped, Chris Watson, has created a sound calendar of environments from the northern hemisphere. In March and April, you will be hearing sounds from an old railway path in Suffolk. Come early to enjoy the installation beginning half an hour before the performances in Hall One.

The branch line between Aldeburgh and Saxmundham in Suffolk closed in 1966 and since that time the landscape around and along the track has been reclaimed by the wildlife. The old railway path is now a green corridor through a mosaic of habitats, the open wetlands of North Warren, the reed bed at North Marsh and dense patches of birch and alder scrub along the route.

The paths near the track were favourite places for the composer Benjamin Britten to go on his ‘composing walks’ throughout the seasons. Within these habitats Britten could rest his thoughts as he edited his work to an ambient soundtrack of reeds or birdsong. He was a keen ornithologist and in May he would seek out the song of his favourite bird, the nightingale, which would sometimes sing through the night and merge into a spectacular dawn chorus pouring out from the surrounding woodland.

Chris Watson

Read ‘Ears to the Ground’ – an introduction to Chris Watson’s work and his Kings Place residency.


This sound installation can be heard from 21 March until 24 April 2020 ahead of all Nature Unwrapped concerts taking place in Hall One. Access to the installation requires a concert ticket for the relevant main event in Hall One.

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