• >Croft Castle & Parkland, Herefordshire
Close Back to top Adrian Utley (from Portishead)



  • >Croft Castle & Parkland, Herefordshire

The Journey

sounduk in partnership with the National Trust have commissioned Adrian Utley (from Portishead) to create its latest Sonic Journey.

For his Sonic Journey, Adrian has created a new piece of music inspired by a personal walk through the remarkable ancient trees at the National Trust’s Croft Castle in Herefordshire.  These include the 1000 year old ‘Quarry Oak’*, unique triple chestnut avenue** and mysterious ancient hawthorns.

This new track, and an accompanying hand drawn route map, will be available to download for free between 16 October 2012 and 15 October 2013 and on MP3 players available at Croft Castle.  Visitors can then listen to the music while walking through the landscape that inspired it and experience it through the changing seasons.

As part of the new experimental digital service The Space, Adrian has worked with Portishead film maker John Minton to create a video of the journey so people also have the option of experiencing the visual aspect of the work remotely.

For the National Trust the Sonic Journey: Adrian Utley (from Portishead) commission represents a really exciting and creative responseto some of the huge reservoir of ancient trees in the UK.  The National Trust is currently undertaking a national survey of all of their ancient trees which include such historically important trees as Newton’s Apple, which triggered the great scientist to define the laws of gravity, the Tolpuddle Martyrs tree, under which the first trade union was formed, or the original Irish Yew, which has produced every other Irish Yew in the world.  The hope is that creative responses such as this commission will help the National Trust raise awareness about, and enjoyment of, these extraordinary trees.

*The ‘Quarry Oak’, is an ancient sessile oak is situated on the edge of the quarry where stone was once used to build parts of Croft Castle. The sessile oak is so-named because its acorns are not carried on stalks (peduncles) but directly on the outer twigs (sessiles). This 1,000-year-old oak started its life long before the first Croft Castle was built, and as such it has seen many historical events. Ancient trees like this are a wonderful habitat and highly valued for their biodiversity, with invertebrate species numbering in their thousands.

**Croft’s unique triple chestnut avenue is an example of wonderfully diverse and architectural veteran trees. The story goes that the planting scheme of these 350 to 400-year-old sweet chestnuts, stems from James Croft bringing home salvaged nuts, from a ship wrecked in the Spanish Armada defeat of 1588. After decades of storage they were then planted to resemble the attacking formations of the Spanish ships, commemorating the English victory.

Don't forget to download the music and map before you leave for your walk and bring your own mp3 player and personal headphones!

Fancy creating your own Sonic Journey and being part of The Space 

Find out how

The Artist

Adrian Utley is most widely known for his work as a member of Portishead. Moving to Bristol in the mid 80’s and heavily into jazz, Adrian played guitar with many great English and American artists and a growing vintage instrument and studio equipment collection spawned a move into production and film work. Portishead formed in 1990 with the first album Dummy released in 1994 followed by Portishead in 1997. Third was released in April 2008. During his career Adrian has recorded with artists as diverse as Patti Smith to Tom Jones, Jeff Beck to Bat For Lashes, and his film work includes Sound by Nic Roeg and Spiders from Mars with David Attenborough.

He recently composed a new soundtrack for silent film classic The Passion of Joan of Arc  with Will Gregory, performed by a 23 piece orchestra conducted by Charles Hazlewood.  Adrian is currently working on various commissions for an electric guitar orchestra, one of which was recently performed alongside an Anti VJ projection at Brunel's Passenger Shed at Bristol Temple Meads station for the Watershed as part of See No Evil 2012. 

Full Line-Up