Beautiful bluebells win the People’s Choice award in South Downs National Park’s annual photography competition

Keen photographer Jamie Fielding has won The People’s Choice vote in the South Downs National Park’s annual photography competition 2020/21 after capturing a blanket of blue blooms in the woods.

The South Downs National Park Authority said bluebells were ‘surely one of the greatest sights of spring’ – and the joyous scene in the Angmering father-of three’s photograph certainly captured the attention of the public.

Jamie will receive a £100 cash prize after winning the People’s Choice award.

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The photograph, called Springtime Blues, was one of more than 400 entered in the competition, which had the theme My Tranquil Haven this year.

Springtime Blues, Jamie Fielding’s winning picture, taken in the woods near his home in Angmering

Jamie 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.

“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 over half 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, as it is a little warmer than the rest of the UK.

Craig Daters, a lead ranger for the South Downs National Park, said: “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.”

The National Park is advising people to explore woodlands locally to them, in line with the current Government guidelines. For more advice see