Radio Lento podcast

116 Sissing plantations in open country

April 23, 2022

Stopped in our tracks some way along the path from Althorne to North Fambridge, by a sound. Plantations swaying in a gentle wind. The brightness. The softness. And a sound that comes in waves. Siffing, then sissing, then siffing again. Above, on warming thermals, skylarks circle and sing. Beyond, in the far distance, geese and other wild birds call.

But these are last year's crops, one of us says, into the unfamiliar warmth of a new spring breeze. Still there? Yes, unusually still there, and still making their own particular sound. A mile-wide sea of dry, wind waivering plants. As the breeze eases, the siffing and sissing subsides into darker tones. Shifting shadows, of last year's golden hues.

We made this 25minute sound photograph of this wild wide open place last weekend on another walk along the River Crouch, this time going from Althorne to Fambridge. Farm machinery can sometimes be heard along with the distant activity of the residents of Althorne (extreme right) a remote hamlet in Essex and home of the Bridgemarsh Marina (episode 36).

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