Mike French Photographer


With the second highest tidal range in the world and being the mouth of the longest river Great Britain, the Severn Estuary has 25 million m3 of water passing through it daily.

As a result, there is a never-ending flow of trees drifting past and often being beached on their journey to the Atlantic Ocean.

Given how busy the Bristol channel is, I’m drawn to the juxtaposition of the fast-paced industry compared to the slow meander of this driftwood. There is an artistic beauty to the power of the water and the ease of which it carries these behemoths.

I’m drawn to the beautiful wear in the timber caused by the constant motion of the water over time. Some pieces of driftwood have become permanent fixtures in the landscape, left behind from powerful storm surges. As these surges increase in regularity, so does the volume of driftwood being washed ashore.

The inspiration for this project started with a visit to the flooded River Severn earlier in the year (read more here). If documentary photography is reporting with intent, then this project attests to the volume of debris in the Bristol channel.