2020 National Trust Handbook photography competition

The judges revealing the winner and runner up of our 2020 Handbook photo competition

We can now reveal the winner of the 2020 National Trust Handbook photography competition. Les Lockhart’s striking image of the evening light at Newtown, Isle of Wight, was chosen from thousands of submissions to star on the cover of the 2020 Handbook.

The images submitted by over 1,500 photographers were whittled down to 32 and then a final shortlist of 15 before Les’s image was crowned winner.

The 2020 Handbook photograph competition winning image, Newtown National Nature Reserve on the Isle of Wight by Les Lockhart
Newtown National Nature Reserve, Isle of Wight
The 2020 Handbook photograph competition winning image, Newtown National Nature Reserve on the Isle of Wight by Les Lockhart

This year we asked for entries on the theme ‘places that make you feel good’. Entries to the competition ranged from the awe-inspiring grandure of Winnats Pass in Derbyshire to the simple joy of a sunny afternoon spent exploring the gardens at Tyntesfield, Bristol.

Les's winning picture will feature on our 2020 Handbook, which is published in the year we celebrate our 125th anniversary. The Handbook helps members and visitors plan days out at all the houses, gardens, coast and countryside we care for.

The winning image

Guest judge, naturalist Simon King, Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, said that Les’s photo stood out ‘because of the beautiful composition’, with the wooden walkway drawing the eye in and giving ‘that combination of the gentle touch of man in a wild landscape’.

" It captures a moment in light that is ephemeral, but entirely possible for anyone to witness if they spend time in a place like this."
- Simon King

The judges were also impressed with the sense of peace and space that it captured and the unusual lighting. Simon said: ‘It captures a moment in light that is ephemeral, but entirely possible for anyone to witness if they spend time in a place like this.’

Newtown's salt marshes, meadows and ancient woodlands are a haven for rare wading birds and butterflies. Les said: ‘I love being able to go out to Newtown regularly, whether it’s during the day to watch all the wildlife, or in the evening for the sunset. It’s such a beautiful, peaceful location, and there are so many features that make it a great place for photography too, like the walkway and the boats on the estuary.’

The runner-up and shortlisted images

Hannah Slater’s shot of her family paddling in the sea at Birling Gap, East Sussex, was picked as runner-up. The judges commended the sense of joy that it captured and its natural quality. Helen Lewis, on the judging panel, said that the photo ‘brings out the joy that people can experience when they are out in the countryside.’

Hannah and her family fell in love with Birling Gap on their first visit and it has become a favourite place for a day out. ‘The kids just thought it was amazing, there's rock pools, there's the sea you can throw stones into, there's a cliff walk. They just absolutely love it.’

The judging panel

The five judges who had the difficult task of whittling down an exceptional shortlist to just one winner were:

  • Tom North – Membership Director, National Trust (lead judge)
  • Helen Lewis – Creative Director, Pavilion Books
  • Chris Lacey – Head of Photography, National Trust
  • Megan Taylor – National Trust Photographer  
  • Simon King – Naturalist, presenter, author and wildlife cameraman
Winners and wows from the past four years Photo competition online gallery