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Out of The Woods

Out of The Woods

Out of the Woods supported two groups of young people to tell the stories of two historic woodlands in North East England.  This year-long project was produced by Wild Museum, working in partnership with Stomping Grounds. It was funded by Historic England

23 young people, the majority of whom are neurodivergent, worked with artists and sound designers, and residents from their local communities to collect the sounds of two post-industrial woodlands- Duke’s Hagg (Prudhoe, Northumberland) and Chopwell plantations (Chopwell, Gateshead).

Both woodlands were planted on former coal mining sites closed in the 19th and 20th century. These mines were once the centre of their community, shaping so much of what exists today in Prudhoe and Chopwell. Its streets, footpaths, schools. Thousands of families moved here for work. However, the history of both woods is invisible when out walking today. 

What happened?

Across a series of workshops, 23 young people:

  • Learned how to listen to and audio record the sounds of a woodland- its wildlife, water, trees and weather. They reflected on how it has changed and what it will become in the future.  
  • Recorded interviews with local residents (aged up to 99 years old), sharing personal experiences of these woodlands. This included families of pit workers, and those who remember the woodlands being planted.
  • Explored historic maps and archives materials, and interviewed historians.
  • Created 2 audio programmes, blending their recorded sounds, to tell the social, industrial and environmental story of these woods.

Listen to the sounds of Dukes Hagg Wood

Produced by young people from Highfield Middle School, working with residents from Prudhoe and the surrounding areas.

Listen to the sounds of Chopwell Plantations

Produced by young people from Chopwell Primary school, Gateshead, working with Chopwell residents


The project supported the young people to :

  • Develop their socioemotional skills and confidence within their local communities. 
  • Grow their sense of connection to the places they live. 
  • Be creative and explore their world through sound and listening.

“I’ve never really listened to nature or outside like this before. It makes you think about what’s actually here. The birds. What’s under ground. Trees. And it would have been so different 100 years ago”.

Chopwell Participant

“I’ve found out that I live in a Miner’s cottage from about the 1700s. I think they might have had a cramped up life if they were living with a few people.”

Prudhoe participant

“Our older residents rarely get to spend time with young people in the community, so this has been a joy for them.”

Local charity supporting socially isolated residents

“One of the most thought-provoking, impressive and touching experiences I have had in a long time.”

listener to the audio programme

Interested in this type of project?

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