Ancient Tree Photo Competition

Ancient Tree Photo Competition

The Trees of Our Lives and The Lives of Our Trees

Ancient and Veteran trees are natures champions!

They have stood the test of time in our landscape and are home to a wealth of wildlife and have stood the test of time in our landscape. Imagine their individual stories, how they came about, what has happened around them, the changing/ cycles of their life from mature grand canopies to large hollowed bulbous trunks which have decaying crevasses where invertebrates thrive. 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, all too often these trees do not have the recognition they deserve. By photographing these trees, we can appreciate their presence and highlight their beauty and value to our region. This photography competition aims to capture the remarkable West of England’s ancient trees to celebrate their presence in our landscape and the stories they have created. As a region, we have a large number of ancient trees that need to be celebrated, captured and some remembered.

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 skillset 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 collated 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 enjoy, safeguard and care for as many of these trees as we can.

PhotoComp Poster WEB


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

How to Spot Them?

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 identify ancient trees, visit The Woodlands Trust Ancient Tree Inventory


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. 

It's easy to apply follow the instructions below

1. Find - Find an ancient tree in your local area that you love and admire

2. Visit - Visit your ancient tree with your phone or camera and capture it. Zoom in and out, concentrating on the whole canopy, concentrating on the gnarly bark, or taking a step back to appreciate the surroundings. See the competitions categories below for inspiration.

3. Upload your photo submission*

If you have any questions please email:

*by submitting my photo I have agreed to the terms and conditions of this photo competition. Full terms and conditions can be found at the bottom of this webpage.

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.