See the light! Come to the dark side!
Did you know that the rural areas of Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water & Forest Park have the darkest skies in England?
It is estimated that 85% of the UK population has never seen a truly dark sky or experienced the sense of wonder that a clear night crackling with billions of stars can give. There is a genuine and growing interest in amateur astronomy and star gazing. Popular TV programmes like BBC’s Stargazing Live have whipped up lots of public interest.
Sadly, the dark skies above rural Northumberland are under threat. Increased light pollution from nearby urban areas, as well as from our own street and outdoor lighting is beginning to reduce our ability to see the stars clearly.
To boldly go!
To help tackle the issue of light pollution and to provide new opportunities for you to enjoy the night sky, the National Park Authority is embarking on an exciting journey.
The International Dark Sky Association (IDA) is the leading international organisation combating light pollution worldwide. The IDA awards the designations of ‘Dark Sky Reserve’ or Dark Sky Park’ to those wild and remote places that demonstrate an ability to conserve the dark skies above them and are committed to providing opportunities for the public to enjoy them.
Northumberland National Park Authority, Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust and Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society have been working a bold plan for two years to secure designation of nearly 1500 square kilometres of Northumberland as England's first Dark Sky Park. It will be called Northumberland Dark Sky Park.
Widespread support has come from local councils, businesses, tourism agencies, wildlife campaigners and scientific organisations, including Jodrell Bank and the Royal Observatory at Greenwich.
If we are successful, Northumberland Dark Sky Park will also become Europe’s largest Dark Sky Park!