Following the launch of ARC’s Heathland Art Competition during #HeathWeek this year, we had an overwhelmingly positive response from artists, with submissions from all over the UK (and some even from abroad!) Entries varied from pencil drawings to watercolour paintings, collages to videos and digital art to mosaics.  

We asked artists passionate about heathlands and the species that live in them to create some incredible artwork showcasing why the heaths are so important.

The competition was judged by artist Eilidh Middleton, who lives on the Purbeck heathland and recently showcased the Purbeck Sand Lizard Installation, Heather Radice, Campaigns Manager of Dorset’s Urban Heaths Partnership, and staff at ARC’s head office. Judging criteria was based on not only the skill of the artwork, but the originality and how well artists conveyed their meaning of the heaths importance in both the art and the statement. 

Eilidh Middleton, Sculptor Heather Radice, Urban Heaths Partnership


Our judges overview:

The quality and originality of the entrants made this really difficult to judge. So many had a real passion and understanding of the pressures on our heathland habitats and the wildlife that live there. ARC would like to thank all entrants.


And the winner is...

What our video to find out the winners, see the beautiful artwork and read the artists heartfelt statements.

Read the comments from our judges for each piece:

1st place: Jonathan Harbinson

I loved his story and the real connection he feels for the heathland and its wildlife. He seems to have a real understanding of the fragility and importance of heathland habitats. I also loved the composition of all those iconic heathland creatures gathered around together in amongst the heather and gorse. 

We admire the use of colour and composition. Having the species gathered around a central focus draws the eye to look at each and consider the context for all. The statement along with it is personal and definitely resonates with our own first experiences with these species.

2nd place: Warren Port 

A beautifully observed and detailed drawing of our iconic smooth snake from someone with a real passion for the heathland habitat and its wildlife, and a knowledge of its importance. 

Chosen for his sheer drawing skill. It's a very beautiful pencil drawing. The composition although simple suggests a fade out or diminishment. The accompanying statement was short but sweet. 

3rd place: Ferne Glannan-MacRae

The quality of Ferne’s work is outstanding.

Wonderfully illustrated species as well as flora, composed to represent the diversity of the Heathland environment. Her passion for the Heathland flora and creatures found there shine out in her statement.


4th place: Fen Sawyer 

Fen gained highly for their originality; we really liked the slightly animated character of their piece. The simple lines, light watercolour brushstrokes and candy colours of the frontal image were charming and the dark hues of the lurking snake behind created a mini drama.

The originality of Fen’s work is wonderful. The idea of the smooth snake hiding in the heather, portrayed in video form, conveys the secretive nature of this species and how important the habitat is for the creatures that live there. 

(In addition to images, Fen created an animated GIF which can be viewed via the video link at the top of the page.)

Special mentions

See the video above for artwork and artist statements.

Maria Nesterova

I’d like to highly commend Maria’s work too, if I may. I loved her passion for a habitat she has never even visited before and hope she gets to experience our heathlands for herself. 

Ben Attwell

The choice of subject seemed to come from his personal experience of those species. His statement illustrated his passion for preserving the Heathland environment which protects these species. 

James Donnelly

James has produced a brilliant representation of a personal connection to the heathland, his experience of volunteering with ARC to manage the heath for the benefit of the species living on it. 


We would like to thank all participants for letting us see not only their incredible art and creativity, but also for giving us a glimpse into their passion for this rare habitat and the species that inhabit it. The winners' entries will be published in ARC's exclusive member's magazine, ARC Eye. We would also like to thank you guest judges for their time.

This competition is part of the #DisappearingHeathland campaign, which seeks to depict the importance of heathland habitats across the UK and the declines they have experienced. If you would like to learn more about heathland habitats, the species that rely on them, and the conservation work ARC is doing to protect both, take a look here.