Art & Culture

Poetry School Partnership

The UK’s National Landscapes are very proud to partner with Poetry School on the Laurel and Ginkgo Prizes.

Each year the National Landscapes network commissions the poets shortlisted for the Laurel to write a poem inspired by one of the National Landscapes. We sponsor the Best Poem of UK Landscape category of the Ginkgo Prize - the 2022 winner was David Canning for his poem 'The Bowland Sheep'. Read the poem and download all the Best Poem of UK Landscape shortlisted poems (2020-22).

The partnership developed after the National Landscapes Association commissioned Poet Laureate Simon Armitage to write Fugitives to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the passing of the legislation which established Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. (The video below features Simon Armitage reading Fugitives).

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UK Laureate Simon Armitage reads Fugitives on the slopes of Arnside Knott

Simon founded the Laurel prize in 2019, as an annual award “for the best collection of nature or environmental poetry to highlight the climate crisis and raise awareness of the challenges and potential solutions at this critical point in our planet’s life.”

The Ginkgo Prize dovetails with the Laurel Prize as an equivalent award for single poems on the same theme. We sponsor the category Best Poem of UK Landscape recognising poems that convey something of the wonder of landscape in all its forms.

AONB teams are all too aware of the need to act to defend the ecosystem of which we’re all part. The Colchester Declaration, made at the Landscapes for Life Conference in July 2019 sets out the firm commitments we have made jointly to redress the losses we have seen in recent years. Our partnership with Poetry School forms part of this commitment.