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VIDEO: Pontarddulais artist Alastair Duncan brings the outside in with nature website.

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 31, 2013

walk man

Alastair Duncan recording local walks in both sound and vision near his home in Pontarddulais

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WHEN you’re at work, do you yearn to switch your phone off and be among fields, trees and twittering birds?

Are you housebound and longing to experience the sights and sounds of nature?

Pontarddulais artist Alastair Duncan could have the answer.

The trained tapestry weaver has taken stills and recorded sounds from some 30 rural walks and created a website, bringing the outside in.

Take a look below at one of Mr Duncan's videos.

Visitors to the StillWalks site can download them for free, or pay to see them in full view or high definition.

“You can stop, put things aside and let yourself be absorbed,” said Mr Duncan.

The 54-year-old said the idea for the website came following a difficult period in his life, which he helped deal with by going for long walks.

The StillWalks strolls are around six to seven minutes long and categorised under spring, summer, autumn and winter headings.

They show rural areas around the Bont, Gower and Carmarthenshire in their full glory. There are also walks from Dorset and Scotland.

Mr Duncan, of St Teilo Street, said fellow walkers were very curious when they saw all his recording equipment.

“Dogs love my furry microphone,” he added.

Mr Duncan has been working with schools in the Swansea Valley and, more recently, Knelston, Pontarddulais and Pontlliw primaries plus a community group in Mawr. Rural Development Fund money for this latter initiative, called Sights and Sounds of the Countryside, has come via Swansea Council’s Countryside Connections project, among others.

Pupils and adults take full part in the creative process, recording sounds, choosing which photos to use and editing them to create their own DVD.

Mr Duncan has also had involvement with Singleton Hospital’s arts and health team.

He said he plans to add more walks to his website, and explained how subtle changes in the atmosphere and wind direction altered the sounds, sometimes muffling nearby traffic.

He said his favourite stroll was down to the marshes near the Bont. A misty walk meanwhile at Ryer’s Down, near Burry Green, Gower, yielded incredible lark sounds. Mr Duncan said he discounted using video footage as he felt that still images accurately reflected how we recall scenes of nature, snapshot-style.

He said he believed the website walks would help people who could get out as well as those who could not.

“I hope they act as a prompt to people,” he said, adding: “You can put your phone on silent, put things aside and take five or six minutes out.”

Take a look below at a video featuring Mr Duncan's walks.

StillWalks - Arboretum Walk, Early Spring from Alastair Duncan on Vimeo.

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