Campaign for National Parks Photography Competition 2021 – shortlisted images

  • Contributor information: CNP

21 October 2021

Almost 100 photographs were submitted to the Campaign for National Parks Documenting Climate Change in National Parks Photography Competition 2021.

A judging panel comprising CNP’s Chief Executive Rose O’Neill, Digital Photographer Magazine Editor Lauren Scott, previous winner and experienced National Parks photographer Kieran Metcalfe and Nat Geo Traveller UK Picture Editor Olly Puglisi selected the winners from a shortlist compiled by the CNP team.

The winners

Shaun Davey’s image from Exmoor National Park as the overall winner, with Fletcher Foot as the Young Photographer of the Year with his image from New Forest National Park. A public vote returned Simon Walkden’s image in Peak District National Park as the People’s Choice: Best Phone Photo. You can find out more about the winning images and the storis behind them here.

“The competition was designed to get people thinking about what climate change looks like in National Parks,” said CNP’s Campaigns and Communications Manager Laura Williams. “We were blown away by the range of images documenting both the devastating impact of the climate crisis, but also solutions to this. We didn’t want to be the only ones to benefit from seeing the shortlist and hearing the stories behind the images as told by the photographers, so we are sharing it with you too. A massive thank you to everyone who entered and congratulations to all those shortlisted.”

The Main Award Shortlist

  • Curlew in the Evening Sun in Yorkshire Dales National Park by Deborah Clarke (Highly Commended)

The very vulnerable red-listed curlew thankfully seems to be doing fairly well in the foothills of Penhill, West Witton.  There are sustainable levels of agriculture and livestock and this enables the curlew to flourish, alongside the lapwing which also prosper in this area.

  • Flooded Fields in Lake District National Park by Jon Roberts (Highly Commended)

Taken in March 2016 – fields and footpaths around Derwent Water were inundated with flood water, turning hilltops into islands. Floods like this used to be exceptional, but are increasingly commonplace.

  • Water shortages in Lake District National Park by Rod Hutchinson 

Thirlmere Reservoir in the driest summer in the Lakes for 130 years – only 30% full, there should be water underfoot where this image was taken.

  • Aircraft contrails over the reservoir in Peak District National Park by Wesley Kristopher

This is the famous Ladybower reservoir with what is affectionately known as the “plug holes” These were designed to regulate the water levels after prolonged wet spells. When they overflow they are fascinating to see, hear and photograph. I went one evening to photograph long exposures of the water but when I arrived there was a large plane contrail in the sky which initially I thought would spoil a wider shot. Within 5 minutes a small plane came into view (could have been the same plane) flew low down and the contrail from that made this X in the sky. There was no event on, this was complete pot luck and right place, right time.

  • Eyam Moor in Peak District National Park by Roy Pollard

Eyam Moor is a dead place. There are few species other than a few Crows flying over the Moorland where the heather hardly flowers and remains grey and dead looking for months on end. Reduced rainfall and the lack of suitable indigenous species of plants mean that the soil is slowly eroding away and the underlying gritstone is eroding and turning a number of hollows and paths into sand-pits.

  • Extreme weather in Lake District National Park by Tony Reed

Lightning storm with flooding over Ullswater.
Young Photographer of the Year Shortlist

  • Beacon’s Dying Distinction in Brecon Beacons National Park by April Francis

This photo shows the drastic contrast between nurtured, healthy grass being used to feed cattle and the wild untamed grass that blankets the beacons. Due to the increase in humidity this year we grass appears dead and dried out to its core. The yellowing of the grass means that there’s no moisture. This image shows how damaging climate change can be to not only nature but the innocent wildlife amongst it.

  • The impact of man in Brecon Beacons National Park by Eliza Read

My eye was drawn to the artificially planted pine forest created by man within the natural landscape of the Brecon Beacons. The uniformal blocks and rows of trees are in stark contrast to the rugged, random, natural terrain.

Best Phone Photo Shortlist

  • Litter in Brecon Beacons National Park by Tanith Harwood 

This photo was taken in Waterfall Country, Brecon Beacons. It was an entrance to a cave which had been sealed off, but obviously people thought it was nature’s dustbin. I always take a bag out with me when I’m out on my walks now to pick up rubbish, it’s horrendous to see and always gets me mad. How people can litter like in this image is just beyond me. A lot of litter is made of single-use plastic, made through intensive processes which rely on fossil fuels and release greenhouse gasses. It’s made its mark on the earth even before its discarded in our National Parks. 

  • Extreme weather in North York Moors National Park by Cara Organ 

Climate change is leading to more extreme weather, which we’re experiencing here in the UK with hotter summers and changes to the patterns in the seasons impacting nature and wildlife. This winter was ridiculously snowy, while the summers get hotter – extremes of weather more common due to climate change.

  • Peatbog in North York Moors National Park by Gemma Scire  

One of the ways National Parks can help tackle climate change is with nature recovery initiatives, including peatland restoration. Peatland captures carbon from the armosphere, where it would otherwise contribute to further climate change. Huge efforts are underway to make the most of this natural resource in National Parks.  

  • Water shortages in Lake District National Park by Tony Watson 

Lake District National Park is already experiencing more erratic weather patterns. Disastrous floods in 2009 and drought in 2010 are just two examples of extreme weather events. Falling lake levels in summer and poorer water quality as pollutants become more concentrated. If we don’t take action on climate change, occasional blips and water shortages will become droughts that will blight future generations. Time to act is now.

To find out more about the work Campaign for National Parks is doing around climate change, please sign up to our mailing list HERE.