Caught by the River

National Trust: The Album

12th May 2010

(Brownsea Island. Pic by Joe Cornish)


One of the world’s most respected musicians has created an album comprising solely of British natural sounds including birdsong, crashing waves and wind breezing through a country garden.

Jarvis Cocker, best known as the former front man for the band Pulp, has worked with the National Trust to produce a soundtrack of some of its places across England, Northern Ireland and Wales. The 33-minute recording titled National Trust: The Album takes the listener on an audio journey around Britain from the sounds of lapping of waves against the shores of Brownsea Island in Dorset to birdsong at Belton House in Lincolnshire and the sounds of gardeners at work at Powis Castle in Powys.

The album, which is available to download for free from the National Trust website, has taken three months to produce and is designed to showcase the peace and tranquility people enjoy when they visit the special places cared for by the National Trust.

It has been produced in response to research by the National Trust that reveals four out of five people (83 per cent) claim the constant audio interruptions makes them distracted and unable to concentrate on a daily basis. The average person can be distracted by the sounds of technology at least 21 times per day – and cannot concentrate for a prolonged period of time without being interrupted by ringing mobile phones or pinging of email alerts. In contrast 88 per cent of people say they find it easier to think when surrounded by natural sounds such as birdsong and the sea.

Tony Berry, Visitor Experience Director of the National Trust, comments:

“If rock and roll is the sound of the city, this is the sound of the country -it’s the ultimate chill-out album. Millions of people come to our places for physical and mental refreshment, and these sounds are an important part of that. The release of this album is the first time the sounds of the National Trust have been given their place in the spotlight, and we’re hoping it will provide the perfect antidote to the daily interruptions of a busy life. When you’re having a hectic day, this is a holiday for your head.”

Jarvis Cocker comments:

“I hope this album is a “Holiday for the Ears”. It’s not really meant to be listened to intently, like a piece of music, but more as something to have on in the background to aid relaxation or contemplation. Plus, you get to visit 13 National Trust properties in the space of 30 minutes. No mean feat. I hope it has the feel of one continuous journey and conjures up an image in the mind’s eye of the places featured. I also hope it could inspire the listeners to then visit the sites for themselves.”

The track-list of National Trust: The Album is:

Track 1: Belton House, Grantham, Lincolnshire (garden stroll with the crunch of gravel underfoot)

Track 2: Belton House, Grantham, Lincolnshire (birdsong)

Track 3: Brownsea Island, Poole, Dorset (waves lapping against the shore)

Track 4: Ham House, Richmond, Surrey (footsteps along the Long Gallery)

Track 5: Chartwell, Westerham, Kent (creaking stairs of the grand staircase)

Track 6: Upton House, Banbury, Warwickshire (game of billiards at play)

Track 7: Lanhydrock, Bodmin, Cornwall (music box playing in the Nursery)

Track 8: Quarry Bank Mill, Wilmslow, Cheshire (children playing at the Apprentice House)

Track 9: Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Water Garden, Ripon, York (birdsong in the water garden)

Track 10: Powis Castle & Garden, Welshpool, Powys (gardeners at work in the formal garden)

Track 11: Patterson’s Spade Mill, Ballyclare, County Antrim (mill at work)

Track 12: Blickling Hall, Norwich, Norfolk (sounds of clocks in the hall)

Track 13: Blickling Hall, Norwich, Norfolk (wind in the clock tower)

The National Trust cares for over 300 historic houses and gardens, over 700 miles of coastline and over 617,500 acres across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
National Trust: The Album is available for download until end of June 2010 from The unique soundtrack will also be played at Paddington Station and key London locations on Thursday 13th May, allowing the public to get a taster of this unique album.

To find out more about the places involved in the sound recordings please visit