Narration of a Nature Walk

After reading an article by  Dr Michael Gallagher, Manchester Metropolitan University , and Dr Jonathan Prior, Cardiff University, titled ‘Listening walks: A method of multiplicity,’ I was inspired to voice record my nature walk process and document the method on which I take photographs and nature field recordings. However, the key difference in our methods would be I focused on the soundscape of the environment, using technology to record and document, whereas Gallagher and Prior focused on the method of a listening walk. In their article, Gallagher and Prior (2017) go to discuss the difference.  

To paraphrase, in the 1960s and 1970s, the World Soundscape Project introduced the concept of the ‘soundwalk’, which involves exploring the soundscape of a given area. R. Murray Schafer, a key member of the project, first described it as a concentration on listening. Hildegard Westerkamp, another member of the project, elaborated on this by stating that a soundwalk is any excursion whose main purpose is listening to the environment.  

There are two types of soundwalks: technologically mediated walks, which use devices such as microphones and MP3 players to listen to the live soundscape or layer pre-recorded music and sounds onto the experience of walking and listening walks. The latter type was developed as a creative practice by experimental musicians and sound artists and involves walking with a concentration on listening, akin to John Cage’s idea of drawing attention to ambient sounds. Some listening walks are about chance experiences with sounds, while others are undertaken with a specific idea of the sounds to be encountered, making them like compositional pieces rather than completely unstructured improvisations. 

In the article authored by Gallagher and Prior, the experience of the listening walk is recounted and documented with photographs. Upon review of their creative process, I was inspired to adopt narration as a means of documentation in the methodology section of my research. Specifically, the recording of the soundwalk is believed to offer valuable insight to other researchers seeking to replicate the study on nature sounds promoting relaxation. The ability to replicate a methodology is essential in the research process, as it enhances the validity and reliability of study findings. Replication allows for the independent verification of research results, and thus helps to ensure the accuracy and credibility of claims. By reproducing a study’s methodology, researchers can assess the extent to which the original findings are generalizable to different populations and contexts, and can identify potential limitations or weaknesses in the study design. In addition, replication promotes transparency and accountability in research, as it enables other scholars to evaluate the quality and rigor of a study’s methods and results. Ultimately, the ability to duplicate a methodology contributes to the advancement of scientific knowledge and the development of evidence-based practices in various fields of study. 

About the Nature Walk Narration Recording  
Duration: Roughly 40 minutes of the recording, roughly 1 hour on the walk 
Walking distance: 5,661 steps (suggests a slower pace than average)  
Location: Braywick Nature Centre 
Date/ time: 19th Feb 2023, 2:00pm 
Weather: Sunny, 12c  
Raw images: 282 
Audio: Voice recording on Galaxy A52 
Photography: Canon EOS Rebel  

Upon reflection of this experience, I would say that using narration to document a nature walk can add significant value to my research, as it offers a rich and nuanced account of the experience and observations. Unlike written notes or photographs alone, narration allows the researcher to describe their thoughts, feelings, and reactions in real-time, which can provide important context and insights into the nature of their observations. Additionally, narration can help to bridge the gap between the researcher and the reader, creating a more immersive and engaging experience that enables the reader to better understand the researcher’s perspective. I would agree with this statement, as I was inspired by ‘Listening walks: A method of multiplicity’ (2017) the which showcased this process.  

 Furthermore, narration can capture the sounds and ambient noise of the environment, which can offer a more vivid and authentic representation of the natural setting being studied. This can be especially valuable for studies that seek to explore the sensory and emotional dimensions of nature experiences. Overall, the use of narration to document a nature walk can enrich the research process, facilitate deeper insights and connections, and create a more compelling and authentic record of the study. 


Gallagher, Michael, and Jonathan Prior. “Listening Walks: A Method of Multiplicity.” Walking Through Social Research, 2017, 163–77.

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