Moors Valley Country Park near Ringwood will soon be displaying over 100 stunning images of wildlife from across the country, including Dorset and Hampshire. The collection of striking photographs feature in the highly-acclaimed British Wildlife Photography Awards (BWPA) exhibition running at the park from 14 January until 26 February 2017.
Chosen from thousands of entries in 15 categories, including two for young people, the awards showcase the very best of nature photography 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 outstanding images including grey seals, golden eagles, weasels and water voles. The park was recently awarded gold for Sustainability in the Dorset Tourism Awards and 55 per cent of the animals featured in the exhibition have been sighted, if not photographed, there.
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 Hampshire is represented this year with two highly commended images from Paul Colley featuring the amazing underwater colours of the county’s freshwater fish.
Naturalist and TV presenter, Chris Packham, 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 added, “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 www.moors-valley.co.uk or call the Rangers on 01425 470721.
The 2017 British Wildlife Photography Awards opens for entries in early February. Details can be found at www.bwpawards.org