It’s amazing how the same place can feel so different depending on how you look at it.
Cycling along the South Downs Way is an exhilarating, saddle-sore three-day trip (less if you’re super-fit).
By horse it will take you about five days and walking the same route will take you around a week. The three experiences, even at the same time of year, can be almost incomparable.
By foot, you have more time to also wander in your head, to picnic or snooze on grassy barrows and daydream about the ancient folk buried there.
By horseback you’re higher and your views are even wider. Cycling you travel so much faster and further. Changing how your travel will make you see the route in a whole different way.
In the National Park we often tell a similar story about the benefits of travelling by bus or train – the opportunity to sit back and actually look around you rather than just focussing on the car in front or the road ahead.
Sitting on the top deck of the number 60 heading south from Midhurst you are treated to a moment that the motorist never sees as you are enveloped in the green valley and hills beneath a big bowl of sky. To either side you might spot walkers, riders or cyclists experiencing the South Downs Way.
So for this year’s photo competition we’re setting the challenge for you to share your own perspective on the National Park. Show us the South Downs from a ‘Fresh Perspective’ – a quirky new angle, from above, from a bus or even in the dark. It’s up to you.
First prize is £250, second prize is £150 and third prize is £50. This year, to highlight our campaign for the South Downs to become an International Dark Skies Reserve, we have a special prize of £100 for the best photo of the South Downs by starlight.
This is the fifth year of the competition and in 2014/15 the quality was so high that the judges asked for a shortlist of their favourite eight photos to be opened up to ‘people’s choice’ vote.
Find out more about the competition and download an entry from at www.southdowns.gov.uk/photo2015.
You can keep up to date with more of our work on Twitter @SDNPA and @Ranger_sdnpa. For further information about the South Downs National Park, all the latest news and events visit www.southdowns.gov.uk.
n The winner of the SDNPA’s photo competition 2014/15 is pictured. It is an ethereal photograph of a dew pond at dusk by Andy Flowerday.
The judges praised Andy’s skill in capturing a moment of still drama that perfectly fit this year’s theme of ‘Hidden Gems’. Although there are no people in the shot a lonely thorn tree has a character of its own, standing firm in the bleak landscape. The dew pond is on the South Downs Way between Ditchling Beacon and ‘Jack and Jill’ windmills.
“I have been past this dew-pond on several occasions and thought there could be potential for a nice image of it,” says Andy. “The sunset wasn’t going to give the glorious colours I had hoped for; however the cloud cover that was increasing led to some lovely soft shades of colour. I used a special filter to blur water and cloud movement. It was a very still evening – I used a four minute exposure and the tree didn’t move at all during that time.”
Report contributed by the South Downs National Park Authority.