Milnrow photographer Chris snaps up South Pennines Park March crown

School learning mentor Chris Jepson-Brown has been crowned winner of the South Pennines Park March photography competition.

Former teacher Chris, 50, of Milnrow, whose job helps provide emotional support for children, spends his spare time out walking and capturing not only birds but also a whole range of wildlife including flora, insects, animals and fungi.

His image of four twite resting in the grass close to Blackstone Edge Reservoir, high above Littleborough, near the border with Calderdale, Yorkshire, and the Pennine Way, won the judges’ vote.

The South Pennines Park – which covers an area spanning Horwich to Huddersfield and Skipton to Bradford – launched the social media competition with the aim of highlighting the mix of urban and rural spaces that make the area unique.

Chris, who is married to Cathy and has two children Bethany, 14, and Isaac, 12, took the winning picture on his Canon EOS 750D camera using a Canon 70-300L lens.

Chris Jepson-Brown’s winning photograph of four twites resting in the grass

Chris Jepson-Brown’s winning photograph of four twites resting in the grass

He said: “I have fairly standard equipment but it’s a good all-round lens for what I need. It’s great for close ups of birds, insects and wild-flowers. I was about 15 yards from the twite when I took the picture.

“That particular area and Rishworth Moor, near Ripponden, are two good spots for finding twite which are on the verge of extinction in England, with the South Pennines being their last English breeding location”.

The South Pennines Park is almost a second home to Chris who said: “It is ‘my’ park, I have spent many many hours walking over the countryside in the area since being very young and I still do a lot of walking there today.”

Chris’s late father, Steven, sparked his interest in bird-watching when he was young.

He said: “My dad took me all over the place. I’m not as ‘hard-core’ as he and his friends were but am close to the ‘magic’ figure of 400 species seen in the UK, having seen around 380. However, I have friends who have seen over 500 species in the UK”.

Chris added: “The rarest bird on these shores that I have taken a picture of was probably a long-toed stint in 2021. This east Asian wading bird made an unexpected appearance at a nature reserve near Leeds in 2021”.