A photographer has snapped up a top prize with his serene image of one of the region's most beloved spots.

More than 1,200 votes were cast in the South Downs National Park annual photography competition, with this year's theme "a new perspective."

Lensman Michael Steven Harris won the people's choice award with his golden hour shot at Chanctonbury Ring, near Steyning.

Michael, from Brighton, called the shot Golden Beech.

He said: “As I approached the beautiful beech trees at Chanctonbury Ring I saw that the tracks sloping up and in front of the trees provided a good composition with the sun setting to the left. 

"I was about to take the photo when I noticed two small flocks of birds fortuitously flying past – so I waited until there was some separation between them and the trees before I pressed the shutter, resulting in the photo you see here.”

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The ring is often regarded as one of the most sacred sites in the county thanks to its rich history dating back more than 3,520 years.

It is an Iron Age hillfort that was later used as a Roman religious site. The earliest known use of the site occurred in the Bronze Age, about 1500 BCE, with the burial of a young woman, who was interred with a bronze dagger beside her.

Michael added: “The South Downs National Park is a wonderful place to explore for its varied landscape – from the distinctive serene rolling hills and valleys across the Downs to the breathtaking chalk cliffs and meandering rivers at Seven Sisters. 

"The same hilly landscape also creates lots of unique weather conditions perfect for photographers and finally, to top it all off, there's picturesque windmills, monuments, castles and lighthouses dotted all about the park.”