About our Dark Skies Festival 2017

A star-filled sky is one of nature's most natural wonders! But they’re become harder than ever to experience. In an urban area you’ll be lucky to see 20 stars on a clear night but in an area of low light pollution, such as in our National Parks, you could see as many as 2,000 twinkling above you.

National Parks are a stargazer’s paradise, with some of the best night skies in the country and we are excited to celebrate this with our second Dark Skies Festival. It’s all about discovering, learning and enjoying the dark and the stars you can see as a result, with events suitable for all ages.  

The main festival runs from 18 to 26 February 2017. You’ll also find events at other times of the year; check the event listings in your area to find out what’s happening.

Bookings and information

Advance bookings and payment are essential for many of the festival events, unless stated as a drop-in event. Booking details are included under each individual event. Please note:

  • Children are welcome at most events but minimum ages may apply.
  • Dogs are allowed at some events, but must be kept on a short, fixed lead at all times.
  • Appropriate clothing and footwear is essential. Wrap up warm especially for evening outdoor activities! A torch could be useful too.

Poetry star captures beauty of Dark Skies in verse

One of the UK’s best known poets has been commissioned by the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Park Authorities to pen a poem celebrating the wonders of the county’s dark skies.  

Ian McMillan, known as the ‘Bard of Barnsley’, will be drawing on his observations of stargazing, as well as the special qualities of the night sky in the areas of low light pollution found in both stunning national parks.  

The verse entitled: “The Darker the Sky” will be completed just ahead of the Dark Skies Festival and will be published here.  

A dark skies poetry competition will also be open to schools in and around the Yorkshire Dales National Park for all budding bards inspired by Ian McMillan’s words email tourism@yorkshiredales.org.uk if you would like more information on how to take part.