Winners announced for South Downs photography competition

Photos of Beachy Head and an Alfriston church were among those shortlisted in the South Downs photography competition.

Tuesday, 3rd January 2017, 1:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th January 2017, 4:20 am
'Freedom Journeys' by Rob Maynard

The competition for best 2016-17 photograph in the national park has been decided by judges, but now it’s open for the public to choose the People’s Choice out of the six stunning photographs that made the shortlist.

“A gnarled old gentleman with twisted limbs” and an “unruly veteran being judged by the neighbours” are two ways that judges of the South Downs National Park photo competition describe the winning picture.

The stunning detail in the black and white shot by Bill Brooks was taken in the Capability Brown-designed grounds of Petworth Park in West Sussex.

James Ringland took this photo of St Andrews Church in Alfriston, called 'Divine Light'

The judges unanimously agreed that it was a perfect fit with this year’s competition theme of ‘Building the Landscape’ and awarded Bill the £250 prize.

Nick Heasman, competition judge and Countryside and Policy Manager for the South Downs National Park Authority, said, “Capability Brown and his wealthy clients knew that they’d never be able to fully appreciate the results of his work.

“They were creating a legacy for the future. Though it may appear unruly this tree has been shaped by people over time into something incredible.”

Bill Brooks said, “I took this shot in February 2016 at a time of year when the intricate branch structure of this majestic tree was still clear against the cloudy skyline.”

'Capability Brown' by Bill Brooks

In stark contrast second place went to a bold and very modern image by Isaac Kennedy contrasting the derelict industry of Shoreham Cement Works against the green rolling hills of the Adur Valley. He won second prize of £100.

Mr Kennedy, said, “Since a young child I’ve past the Shoreham Cement Works and always wondered what it would be like to venture inside.

“A little older now, I decided to follow my curiosity and, with the owner’s permission, went in to the building.

“I was not disappointed. The way the evening light hit the top floor was magical.”

'Shoreham Cement Works' by Isaac Kennedy received second place

Steve Watkins, competition judge and Editor of Outdoor Photography Magazine, said, “There is so much to say about this photograph, it has immediate and graphic appeal.

“You could almost be in a church. There is so much skill in how this picture was taken and the story it tells of enduring landscapes and the temporary nature of a building – which only existed to mine and exploit the chalk these hills are made from.”

Third place was given to what appears at first glance to be a very classic downland panorama.

But the frozen park is again the work of Capability Brown at Petworth Park, this time taken by Robert Maynard who won £50.

'Frozen Park' by Robert Maynard received 3rd place

Mr Maynard, said, “It was a frozen day in early January 2016 and l was heading to Petworth Park on a beautiful scenic morning.

“I had never seen so many humps on the grass and with a backdrop showing the trees on the hill I captured a beautiful park.”

Finn Hopson, competition judge and professional photographer, said, “This is an exquisite shot with so much going on. It’s a journey of a photograph with your eyes wandering the scene in the same way your body would stroll through it.”

The theme for the competition aimed to capture how South Downs’ landscapes have been shaped by people over thousands of years.

It challenged both professional and amateur photographers to capture the stories of building and construction throughout this rich history across the South Downs.

Now the judges have had their say, it’s time for everyone else to vote for their favourites from the top six shortlisted pictures.

'Evening at Saddlescomb Farm' by Edward Mills

Go to to see the full gallery and choose your favourite.

James Ringland took this photo of St Andrews Church in Alfriston, called 'Divine Light'
'Capability Brown' by Bill Brooks
'Shoreham Cement Works' by Isaac Kennedy received second place
'Frozen Park' by Robert Maynard received 3rd place
'Evening at Saddlescomb Farm' by Edward Mills