Fritillaries against the sunset, hedgerow wildlife and ancient woodlands; all symbolise the beauty of Oxfordshire’s natural world, writes Bryony Aherne. They are also among the stunning images submitted by nature-lovers as part of the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust’s photo competition – the winners have which have just been announced.

Launched in 2015 as part of the Oxford Festival of Nature, the competition is an opportunity for anyone interested in wildlife and photography to indulge both passions and share their beautiful photographs with the public. It’s also an opportunity for BBOWT to share the natural beauty of its wildlife sites.

The competition, held in association with Panasonic, is increasing popular, with the number of entries having increased over the past three years.

It is split into five categories, covering wildlife, wild places, people and wildlife, under-18s, and mobile phone pictures.

Lynzi Worth from Bicester won the People and Wildlife award and is the overall winner of the whole competition.

The child in Lynzi’s ‘make a wish’ photo is her friend’s son, holding a dandelion clock of goatsbeard seed heads. The photo was taken on a trip to Finmere Wood nature reserve, near Bicester. Lynzi’s interest in photography began when she bought a DSLR camera after receiving a bonus at work. She responded to the news that she had won by saying: “I’m shocked. I’ve never won any competition before.” She wins a Panasonic Lumix bridge camera and camera training with a Lumix expert.

Gill Stansfield is the winner of the Mobile Phone category with her photo of snake’s-head fritillaries in Iffley Meadow.

Each April, thousands of the distinctive flowers cloak the county’s meadows in purple. This member of the lily family is especially beautiful with its chequered pattern. To see their exceptional colours at their best you need to get close.

Gill said: “As I carefully lay among the flowers, I was enthralled by how the light from the setting sun lit up the fritillary petals as if they were chequered lanterns.

“My mum has a love of flowers and she encouraged my interest in flora and fauna from an early age.

“I now try to take pictures of flowers from unusual angles and find it works well being right amongst them.”

When BBOWT took on the management of the reserve a mere 500 snake’s-head fritillaries could be found. Thanks to careful management, the number has shot up to 69,000.

If you haven’t visited yet, you will find this peaceful haven for wildlife on the banks of the Thames just a stone’s throw from the centre of Oxford – though you’ll have to wait until next spring to see the fritillaries.

Anne Sutcliffe from Brill won the Under-18s category with her photo of a meadow buttercup at Bernwood Meadows, while Mary Payne scooped the Wild Places category with her atmospheric photo of an autumnal misty morning at Aston Clinton Ragpits near Aylesbury.

David Howlett from Bledlow Ridge won the Wildlife category with a portrait of a marbled white on knapweed taken at Yoesden nature reserve near Chinnor

Sina Korcan was runner up in the Wildlife category with a photograph of a red-headed cardinal beetle taken at Oxey Mead, an ancient flood meadow near Oxford that dates to medieval times. Another runner up was Molly Drayton, whose photo of a banded demoiselle at Loddon Nature Reserve was commended in the Under-18s category.

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