Grey seals, golden eagles, weasels and water voles: award-winning country park celebrates the best of British wildlife photography (Nov 2016)

Grey seals, golden eagles, weasels and water voles: award-winning country park celebrates the best of British wildlife photography (Nov 2016)

Stunning images of wildlife from across Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire feature in the highly-accclaimed British Wildlife Photography Awards (BWPA) exhibition at Moors Valley Country Park near Ringwood from 14 January until 26 February 2017.

With 15 categories, including two for young people, the Awards showcase the very best of nature photography chosen from thousands of entries from across the country and raise awareness about biodiversity, British species and their habitats.

Moors Valley is the only location south of London to host the BWPA national touring exhibition which this year features over 100 striking images including grey seals, golden eagles, weasels and water voles. The Park was recently awarded ‘Gold’ for Sustainability in the Dorset Tourism Awards and fifty-five percent of the animals featured in the exhibition have been sighted, if not photographed, there. Moors Valley is also is one of‘ the best places in the UK for dragonflies and home to all six species of British reptile as well as a highly successful water vole reintroduction programme.

This year’s BWPA overall winning shot, ‘Hitchhikers’, was not taken on land but underwater off the Island of Hirta in Scotland and features what award-winning photographer George Stoyle describes as  ‘one of the largest jellyfish I’ve ever encountered’. The amazing folds, frills and kaleidoscopic colours of this giant lion’s mane jellyfish should make ‘Hitchhikers’ a winner, but it is the shoal of shimmering fish finding sanctuary amongst its tangle of stinging tentacles that make this unique picture really stand out.

Nearer to home, highly commended images include Jane Morgan’s close-up of a feathery, tentacled fan worm in Weymouth, Dorset whilst Wiltshire images include Mark Bridger’s Roe deer in a field furrow in Salisbury, and 14-year old Harry King’s image of a short eared owl taken at Wroughton’s Barbury Castle. Wiltshire is also home to category winner Nick Upton, whose images detailing the monitoring and tracking of harvest mice won the documentary series award. Hampshire is represented this year with two highly commended images from Paul Colley featuring the amazing underwater colours of the county’s freshwater fish.

Chris Packham, TV presenter and naturalist said, “The British Wildlife Photography Awards generates an incredible catalogue of splendid, exciting, imaginative and artistic images, proving beyond doubt that we have the richest palette of life to celebrate in our own backyard. Anyone passionate about protecting and preserving wildlife will be inspired by the British Wildlife Photography Awards, which has done more than any other award to raise the profile of British wildlife”.

Moors Valley Communication Ranger, Katie Davies said, “With so many stunning photographs on show this exhibition is proof that you don’t have to travel far from home to capture some amazing images. Moors Valley is home to so many different animal species that whatever type of photography you are interested in, the park and forest can offer some great opportunities to try out your skills. Even in winter there are plenty of species around including visiting wildfowl like shovellers and teal, early morning species such as roe deer, and the usually shy and retiring water voles.”

The British Wildlife Photography Awards exhibition opens daily in the Visitor Centre at Moors Valley Country Park. It is free to view. Parking charges apply. For more information go to or call the Rangers on 01425 470721.

The 2017 British Wildlife Photography Awards opens for entries in early February. Details can be found at

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Editor’s notes:

Please contact Amanda Walker on 01725 512200 to obtain a high resolution images of your choice. Available images
Please note all available images are for publicity about the British Wildlife Photography Awards only. Any further use will require permission and a fee.
All images used must be credited to the photographer(s) and BWPA. Any published information about the BWPA should always include the competition’s web address

The Winners
George Stoyle is The Overall Winner with his image “Hitchhikers” of a Lion’s mane jellyfish.
Coast and Marine winner: “Hitchhikers”, Lion’s mane jellyfish, St Kilda, off the Island of Hirta, Scotland, George Stoyle
Animal Portraits winner: “Contemplation”, Mountain hare, Tomatin, Inverness, Scotland, Jamie Mina
Animal Behaviour winner: “Back Garden Babies”, Garden spider, Nottinghamshire, England, Jacqueline Spindley
Urban Wildlife winner: “The Supermarket Starling”, Cornwall, England, Geoff Trevarthen
Hidden Britain winner: “Emergence”, Goring, Oxfordshire, England, Stephen Darlington
Wild Woods winner: “Twisted Green”, Derbyshire, England, Steve Palmer
Habitat winner: “Living Space”, Bass Rock, East Lothian, Scotland, Charles Everitt
Botanical winner: “Bird Seed”, Silver birch and Garden spider web, Norfolk, England, David Maitland
Close to Nature winner: “Tadpoles”, Bristol, England, Jeanette Sakel
British Nature in Black and White winner: “Free Bird”, London, England, Chaitanya Deshpande
British Seasons winner: “Common weasel”, North Yorkshire, England, Robert E Fuller
Documentary Series winner: “Harvest Mice”, Monitoring and tracking Nick Upton
Wildlilfe in HD Video winner: “Spring on the River” Liam Marsh
12-18 years winner: “Kung Fu Puffin”, Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire, Wales, Rebecca Bunce (age 18)
Under 12 winner: “Cygnet with Swan”, London, England, Seren Waite  (age 10)

View all the winning Images, including the video winner and selection of highly commended entries here:

The Prizes
First prize: £5,000
Category winners will receive a Canon PowerShot G5 X
Wildlife in HD Video category winner will receive a Sky World HD package and a HD TV.  Plus a Canon XA-30 Professional Camcorder <>
The British Seasons Portfolio prize is a Páramo Voucher for £600
The Young winner (under 12) will receive £300
The Young winner  (12 -18) will receive £500

The Book
The British Wildlife Photography Awards: Collection 7 showcases the very best entries from the British Wildlife Photography Awards in 2016. This stunning coffee table book is a celebration of British wildlife as captured on camera by today’s best amateur and professional photographers.

The Sponsors
Canon, SKY, RSPB Wildlife Explorers, WWF, The Wildlife Trusts, Shetland Nature, Countryside Jobs Service,, Buglife, Paramo, BBC Wildlife Magazine and Outdoor Photography Magazine.
Supported by
Wild Arena, Kristal Digital Imaging Centre,