Protecting our dark skies

The Northumberland International Dark Sky Park (NIDSP) is the largest area of protected night sky in Europe. It includes the whole of Northumberland National Park and 67% of Kielder Water and Forest Park, totally 572 square miles or nearly 15,000 square kilometres. Our Gold Tier status as an International Dark Sky Park adds a jewel to the worldwide network of dark sky oases recognized by the International Dark-Sky Association for excellence in night sky stewardship.

An IDA International Dark Sky Park (IDSP) is a land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage, and/or public enjoyment.

Because of the unpopulated nature of the Northumberland Dark Sky Park, if you travel to any place away from street lights, you will be amazed by the number of stars you see on a clear night. Please remember to be courteous to others living in the area, especially late at night when people may be asleep nearby.

Light pollution

Darkness at night is one of the key characteristics of rural areas and it represents a major difference between what is rural and what is urban. Security lights, floodlights and streetlights all break into the darkness and create a veil of light across the night sky.

While some of this light is necessary, much of it is wasting energy, shining upwards where it isn’t needed, spilling into homes, disrupting people’s sleep and affecting the behaviour of wildlife. The quality of our lives and the natural world is being diminished by light pollution. The below graphic taken as part of the CPRE 2016 Night Blight study illustrates the dark skies of Northumberland International Dark Sky Park.

Our work to minimise light pollution

Northumberland International Dark Sky Park covers 1475 square kilometres and to ensure we minimise light pollution and retain Northumberland’s rural character a Lighting Management Plan (LMP) has been produced.

This has been endorsed by the park’s two planning authorities – Northumberland National Park Authority and Northumberland County Council.

Download the Northumberland National Park Authority Lighting Management Plan – PDF File.