A STUNNING image taken by an amateur photographer has taken the top prize in a leading photographic competition.

Lorraine Heaysman, from Worthing, claimed top spot in the South Downs National Park photo competition with her picture entitled Autumn Gold, taken from the hills above Upwaltham, near Chichester, and won £250.

Delighted Lorraine said: “Mornings have always been my favourite time of the day and I spend so much time searching for these conditions as mist can be fickle. I am bowled over that the judges liked my image enough for it to win.

“Moments like these on a hilltop are filled with beauty, peace and tranquillity and my heart skips a beat whenever I walk along the Downs and see scenes like this.”

Second prize went to Dominic Vacher for his picture Race Against Time taken from Tegdown Hill, north of Brighton, during last summer’s heatwave.

The last light hits the dust of a farmer racing to bring his harvest home as the evening shadows lengthen. Dominic, from Brighton, won £150.

Competition judge Finn Hopson, owner of Brighton Photography Gallery, said: “I love the pace, lines and colours of Dominic’s photo.

"This is the life of a farmer, out working in the National Park and yet it captures the feeling of those old wartime photos designed to remind people of what a special place the South Downs is.”

Dominic said: “There had been a long hot and dry spell for weeks but the forecast predicted a dramatic change with stormy weather imminent.

"The farmer was clearly taking heed and working frantically to get his crops harvested before the weather turned.

“I returned the next day hoping to find a classic scene with the field scattered with bales but alas, the farmer had come back early and scooped them up and off to storage.”

Third prize was won by Clive Blott for his show-stopping portrait of a cow taken on a very cold January morning near Midhurst.

Clive, from Eastbourne, won £50 for his photo “Freshly Frozen”.

Vote for your favourite at www.southdowns.gov.uk/vote-favourite-photo/.