Eagle-eyed walkers could spot this magnificent white stag at a Purbeck nature reserve.

Ed Holbrook sent us these pictures of the rare animal taken at Arne, near Wareham, at the end of February.

He said: "Despite spotting me about 20 metres away, the deer seemed quite content." 

And Sharon Hurst said she was walking her dog at Arne on Sunday when she spotted the impressive stag.

"We go every Sunday and have a lovely walk with our dog", she said.

"You always see the sika deer there but this week I was pleased to see this white deer.

"It was not scared or nervous with everything going on around him."

Sharon said she felt "very lucky" to get so close and take a photo.

White stags are not albinos but instead suffer leucism, a condition that causes hair and skin to lose its natural colour.

They have played a part in Britain's myths and legends for thousands of years.

To the ancient Celts, the white hart was symbol of the otherworld, a sign that a taboo had been transgressed.

Seeing a white hart meant some terrible evil or judgment was about to occur.

In Arthurian legend, the white stag was a sign it was time to embark on a quest. The hart was considered the one animal that could never be caught.

And one version of the legend of Herne the Hunter says that Herne was mortally wounded while saving King Richard II from an angry white stag. In a bid to save his life, the stags antlers were cut off and bound to Herne's head.

Later, after Herne's death - he hung himself from an oak tree - his spirit reappeared, complete with antlers.

In Hungary, a white hart is believed to have led the country's first residents to their homeland, while in France one story says anyone who killed a white hart was cursed with the pain of unrequited love.

In modern culture, the white stag features in both the Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter.