About National Parks Dark Skies

Dark Skies Festivals - a celebration of dark skies around National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

A star-filled sky is one of nature's most natural wonders! But they’re becoming 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 various Dark Skies Festivals throughout the year. 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.

Since 2016's inaugural Festival in the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales, Dark Skies Festivals throughout the UK have become an unmissable fixture in the stargazing calendar. Taking place throughout the country, there's never been a greater opportunity to get out and appreciate what's above.

Big Dipper

Launched by the Dark Sky Alliance in October 2018, National Parks are amongst a number of bodies to support the Big Dipper campaign, which aims to draw attention to the light pollution creep caused by beams emitted from powerful external LED floodlights and security lighting.

The Big Dipper is highlighting how property owners can help reduce the orange-white glow, which is seen above built-up areas and is increasingly spreading across the countryside, by ensuring the beam of light from exterior lamps is dipped downwards rather than projected outwards.

The Big Dipper campaign is asking people to:

  • Ensure lights point down and are fully shielded.
  • Only illuminate areas you need to and don’t leave lights on all night - use a timer or motion sensor.
  • Employ lighting that is no brighter than necessary (a 500 lumens light is ample to illuminate a back garden)
  • If possible don’t use LEDs emitting bright white/blue light, but rather warmer colours (packaging often states the light’s colour temperature – units of 3,000k and below produce a warmer colour which is less harmful to the night-time environment).

For advice on minimising light pollution visit www.britastro.org/dark-skies or http://darksky.org/lighting/lighting-basics/.

Further information on light pollution and interactive maps can be found at  www.nightblight.cpre.org.uk.