Iconic rock arch captured in rare snowy conditions

A spectacular image of the rock arch at Durdle Door in Dorset taken by a self-taught photographer has beaten hundreds of entrants to scoop the South West Coast Path’s annual photographic competition. 

The photograph shows the coastal landscape at twilight and was taken by Jonny Royale, who describes how he captured the stunning image saying;

“An hour-long drive in roads that hadn't been gritted due to the unpredicted snowfall, led me to an untouched and unpopulated Durdle Door in (rare) Snowy conditions. I pitched up in excitement and waited for the clouds to part just enough to let a little colour from the rising sun light up the sky. I spent hours photographing this location in these conditions - an experience that will live with me forever.”

Jonny receives a £250 voucher towards purchases at Cotswold Outdoor and a 1-1 photography workshop with Adam Burton, the competition judge, who chose the winning picture.

Adam says of the photograph:

Durdle Door is probably the most photographed location along the South West Coast Path, and for good reason, the soaring cliffs and iconic natural arch are among the UK’s most impressive coastal scenery.  Being such a popular subject it is difficult to capture the location in a fresh perspective but the snow definitely elevates this photo above most pictures of Durdle Door.  Jonny’s decision to head to the coast on this snowy winter’s morning was inspired; to photograph this famous viewpoint with both snow and a colourful dawn sky makes this photograph very special indeed.

“There’s a beautiful richness to the tones in this image, from the shadows in the cliffs to the brightest part of the twilight sky. Like all the best images it’s a simple composition with nothing in the frame that doesn’t deserve to be there. The exposure is perfect; just slow enough to suggest movement in the breaking wave while retaining the texture and form of the water surface. The way the streaks of the waves on the wet sand has been captured is particularly appealing, as is the sliver of moon in the sky. The texture of the layers of rock in the cliffs is also highly evocative; they take the viewer’s eye into the picture towards Golden Cap in the distance.”

The winning image will feature alongside 11 other pictures in the official South West Coast Path calendar for 2018 published by Salmon, which will be on sale in July and available from the Association’s online shop. To view the winning images, take a look at the photo competition page at

If you’re inspired to take your own landscape photographs of the south west coastline, you can purchase Adam Burton’s latest book ‘Photographing Devon and Cornwall’, from the Association’s online shop, which focuses on the coastline alongside the landscapes of Exmoor, Dartmoor and Bodmin. A contribution from all items sold goes towards Coast Path improvement projects. 

Published on: May 11, 2017