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About the Oakham Canal Audio Walk

The concept for the Audio Walk was born following a visit by our Projects Officer, Paul Cundy, to York Castle, where he enjoyed the excellent Audio Guide. It was both highly informative, while being very entertaining, as it told the history of the castle through the voices of the folk who actually lived it - not just the Lords and Ladies, but the ordinary soldiers, their wives...who complained bitterly that their husband was " to another war!". This sparked an idea of how we might bring the history of Oakham Canal to life - but we had no idea how to go about it! Enter Joy Everitt, from Rutland Arts, a "can-do" lady, who put us in touch with Andy Barrett, of Excavate. Andy has a super track record in this field. As importantly, Andy was key in our successful bid for to win funds for the project from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, which made all of this possible.

The Oakham Canal Audio Walk project was launched on the 27th of July 2023 at the Rutland County Museum, when around twenty people gathered to hear about the hopes for the project, and about the previous work of Excavate who had been commissioned to produce the walk with us. A research group was formed from this meeting who enthusiastically embraced the challenge.


Working with writer Andy Barrett this group delved into the archives to uncover stories and information about the canal, the characters involved in its rise and fall, and about wider aspects of the social and physical history of the town during this dynamic period. Alongside this work Andy Barrett went out to interview those who had memories and stories of the canal, particularly from those who fish it, as well as from those who continue to engage with it as a natural habitat.


Working with Arts for Rutland a cast was assembled to respond to a series of characters created from the research and interview material, and a route was designed with Paul Dadford. After a period of rehearsals and re-writing the final script was completed in early February and recording dates were set up.


The central narration, expertly read by Sue Curtis, was recorded at J.T. Soar in Nottingham, and over the weekend of February 24th and 25th, the remaining eighteen members of the cast gathered at the recital hall in Uppingham School, where Rob Persani from Rutland and Stamford Sound recorded the individual and group scenes.


The edited audio material was then handed over to Adam P McCready, who stitched the walk together adding the music (including some recorded for us by Rutland Morris), ambience and sound effects that bring it all to life. And whilst this was happening Tom Partridge was commissioned by Excavate to design a map for the walk, along with the logo that accompanies the audio files.


The original idea was to create a one hour walk with a handful of voices, but because of the richness of the material uncovered it soon became apparent that the five-mile route could be accompanied by many more voices, resulting in a much more ambitious audio walk of twenty tracks, most of which are to be listened to on the move. There are over two hours of material in all, twice as much as originally envisaged, which has meant a great deal of work by many people.


We’re very proud of what we’ve all been able to achieve together, under the stewardship of Excavate, and hope you enjoy this community heritage project that explores the story, characters, and legacy of one of the most important moments in the life of the town.




Produced by Excavate.

In partnership with the Oakham Canal Green Corridor Project and with support from Arts for Rutland and the Rutland County Museum.

Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.


Written and directed by Andy Barrett.


Research team: Paul Dadford, Marion Drake, Jane Greenhalgh, Liz Sanders.


Cast: Mick Barker, Andy Barrett, Richard Billington, Trev Clarke, Rob Collis, Paul Cundy, Sue Curtis, Joy Everitt, Margaret Glenn, Steve Green, Barbara Jenkins, Paula McKillop, Reid McKillop, Tom Morley, Jamie Mulvany, Christian Obokoh, Rob Persani, Jill Weight, Chris West-Sadler.


Recorded by Rich Collins at J.T Soar and Rob Persani at Uppingham School.


Sound editing by Andy Barrett, Rich Collins, and Rob Persani.


Sound design and original music by Adam P McReady.


Additional music by Rutland Morris.


Thanks to Martin Ball, Keara Barnett, Gary Berridge, Linda Biddle, Richard Blythin, Rob Clayton, Katy Eason, Bill Parsons, Paul Parsons, Selina Patel, Mike Robinson and anyone else that we may have overlooked (many apologies!) who helped or supported us in any way through this process.

Audio Walk project gallery

We hope you enjoy the montage of photos below, taken during the project.


You can support our work

If you like the changes you are seeing at Oakham Canal, please consider making a safe, secure donation via Paypal to help us continue our work. We've got big plans, but we need the resources to help make them happen!

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