A photo capturing a blanket of blooming bluebells as a first sign of spring has won an award in the South Downs National Park’s annual photography competition.
Jamie Fielding, of Angmering, West Sussex, won the People’s Choice category in the annual contest for 2020/21 with his photo “My Tranquil Haven”.
The father-of-three said: “It’s wonderful that this photograph has struck a chord with so many people. I think it’s an uplifting picture and heralds better times ahead.
“I’m really lucky to have these amazingly beautiful woodlands on my doorstep and took the image during the first lockdown on one of my daily walks.”
The manager added: “Spring is always a wonderful time of year on the South Downs – everything comes back to life and, best of all, the forests start to wake up too.
“There’s something very peaceful about a spring forest, with nothing but birdsong at dawn and the chance of spotting a deer roaming around. Bluebells are one of the best things about spring and I wanted to capture my local bluebell forest at its best.
I waited for a sunny morning with a hint of humidity to give a nice soft light and bring out the best of the luminescent green beech leaves.”
The UK has more than half of the world’s population of bluebells, which usually flower from mid-April to late May, depending on the weather.
If spring is mild they tend to bloom early and they will often first appear in the south west of Britain where it’s a little warmer than the rest of the UK.
A flower with strong folklore connections, it is said that bluebells ring at daybreak to call fairies to the woods.
Craig Daters, a lead ranger for the South Downs National Park, added: “This really is a wonderful image capturing the essence of spring in the South Downs.
“Our native bluebells are a protected species and offer an important habitat for a range of bee and butterfly species. You can help protect native bluebells by keeping to the path on your woodland walks.”