Ancient Tree Photo Competition

Ancient Tree Photo Competition

Enter our Ancient Tree Photograph Competition!

"The Trees of Our Lives and The Lives of Our Trees"

Ancient and Veteran trees are nature's champions! Their gnarly forms have graced our landscape for centuries, offering a home and to an extraordinary wealth of wildlife. 

We're celebrating the West of England’s ancient trees with a photography competition to celebrate these remarkable landmarks and habitats. Our winners will have the opportunity to plant the ancient trees of the future, planting a tree at our Great Avon Wood site and feature in a celebratory compilation of photos.

Here's how to enter

1. Find - Find an ancient tree in the Forest of Avon region* that you love and admire. The Woodlands Trust Ancient Tree Inventory will help you find and identify them

2. Get snapping!! Visit your ancient tree and capture it in all its glory. Zoom in and out, showcase the whole, glorious canopy, capture the intricacies of the gnarly bark, or take a step back to take in the surroundings. There are nine categories** of photo to choose from so get creative with your submissions. And children, don't be shy, we will be awarding prize to a range of different age groups too!

3. Upload your photo submission*** 

Queries can be emailed to:

* The Forest of Avon region encompasses the counties of Bristol City Council, South Gloucestershire Council, Bath and North East Somerset (BANES) council, North Somerset Council **By submitting your photo you agree to the terms and conditions of this photo competition which can be found at the bottom of this webpage. ***The nine categories are explained in detail below. They are The Mighty Oak, It's All in the Detail, Where Trees Live, Wildlife in our Woods, Celebrating our Ash Trees, Tree Tops and Trees and Me

Further information

Imagine the individual stories of these national natural treasures. What did their surroundings look like when they emerged from a tiny seed? What events have happened around them? The trials and tribulations they have faced through the changing/ cycles of their life. Even in their old age, their immense, hollowed-out, bulbous trunks offer sanctuary to a wealth of wildlife both big and small. In every stage of their long lives they really are a feast for the eyes!

These trees are of great national interest and a symbolic part of our history, however despite their uniqueness and importance in creating wildlife havens, these trees all too often do not have the recognition they deserve. By photographing these trees, we can appreciate and record their presence and highlight their beauty and value to our region.

The Trees of our Lives and The Lives of our Trees Ancient Tree photography competition invites everyone to take part and get outside to photograph the best of the West. The invite is for photographers of all ages and skill sets to find an ancient tree in their local area and appreciate these humble giants. In 2024, we will hold exhibitions across the region to celebrate these trees and the people who have taken part. These will be collected and made into a photo album, that will be sold to plant more trees in our region to tackle ecological and climate emergencies we are experiencing in our present.

We hope to care for as many of these trees as we can.

PhotoComp Poster WEB

When does the competition run?

The competition will be run till June 30th 2024, so we are able to view and appreciate these trees as they change across the seasons.

How to Spot Ancient Trees?

These trees are out of the ordinary and stand out due to their unique landscapes. They are characterised by their bulbous wide trunks, gnarly barks, often hollow in the trunk and small canopy compared to their young neighbouring mature trees. They can range from a staggering 150-1000’s of years old depending on the tree species and each one is unique due to the environment they are in. Look out for these characteristics on your next walk, you might spot one that hasn’t been registered!

For more information on how to find and identify ancient trees, visit The Woodlands Trust Ancient Tree Inventory

Where should the photos be taken?

Submission's will be accepted from all four local councils that make up the community forest that is the Forest of Avon. This includes, Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset (BANES), South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. If you are slightly outside of one of these boundaries, please still send us your photos, all trees should be celebrated! 

Competition Categories

The Mighty Oak

Did you know there are more ancient native oak trees in England than the rest of Europe combined? One example in the Forest of Avon is the Publow Oak, that sits in Great Avon Wood, the region’s largest woodland creation project on record! This makes them an important heritage feature in our landscape. Let’s celebrate these beautiful proud trees. Notice their barks, hollow trunks and leaves to identify them.

It’s all in the Detail

It’s time to zoom in and notice the textures of the gnarly bark, the insects that live in the crevices, the fungus that forms on their trunks and the intricate details of these trees leaves. Change your perspective and get up close!

Where Trees Live

Take a step back from the tree and observe the space around it. Is the tree in the city centre? A wide-open field? With other tree neighbours? Or even ancient yews in cemeteries? Depending on where these trees stand, their history is unique!

Wildlife in our Woods

Ancient trees provide a habitat for thousands of species, especially, invertebrates who thrive due to the deadwood and hollow trunks. Woodpeckers in the canopy and Foxes sheltering on the forest floor, these trees are instrumental to our most beloved woodland wildlife.

Celebrating our Ash Trees

Due to Ash Dieback, a serious fungus disease that causes the health of the tree to diminish rapidly, these trees in our landscapes are threatened. We want to celebrate their presence, remembering where they were and the stories they created. With their pencil like black buds pointing to the skies, these trees are often said to be writing poems in the sky. 

Tree Tops

Look up to view the branches and leaves that these ancient trees create. You may notice their antler like branches, green leaves or buds and twirling shapes that look like its dancing.


Every year, trees move through a cycle where they shed their old leaves to grow new ones. We often identify which season we are in depending on what seasonal cycle trees are in. New growth and bright green leaves in spring and summer, the rusting of leaves in autumn and bare bark in winter, each season is special. We want to see these trees in all of their seasonal glory over the year.

Trees and Me

How do these humble giants make us feel? Ancient trees don’t just support our beloved wildlife, but they provide us with endless benefits to our health and wellbeing, their canopy providing shade over the summer months and their endless support to our favourite wildlife. Share how you appreciate and interact with our ancient trees.

    The Partnership

    This photo competition is made possible thanks to the Woodland Trusts Emergency Tree Fund, supporting the West of England through the Forest of Avon Trust.