You may well have missed it but there’s been some pretty big news for the Snowdonia National Park over the last few days! It’s just been announced that the park has been given special status as an international dark sky reserve, making it part of a select few such places in the whole of the UK. Handpicked for their lack of light pollution and stunning views out over the night skies these places are the best spots in the whole of the UK to visit if you want to catch a glimpse of the stars. In celebration of Snowdonia’s latest achievement we’ve pick out some of the best dark sky reserves for you to visit.
Snowdonia National Park
Where else could we start? As I mentioned Snowdonia is the UK’s most recent addition to the list of International Dark Sky Reserves, and it’s just the tenth in the whole world. The adding of Snowdonia to this list means that lights will be dimmed in three separate areas around the National Park (the Migneint mountain range, Nant Gwynant and Cadair Idris) meaning that the already stunning night skies will only get better!
Exmoor National Park
Back in the autumn of 2011 Exmoor was named as Europe’s first International Dark Sky Reserve by the International Institute. Nowadays it may share its status with the more recent additions but that doesn’t take anything away from it! On a clear night you’ll be able to spot a wide array of stars and constellations from near enough anywhere in the park but the best locations include Brendon Common, Wimbleball Lake, Bosington Hill and Dunkery Beacon, all of which are worth a visit.
Kerry Dark Sky Reserve
Or if you’re over on the Emerald Isle then you’ll want to head down to County Kerry where you’ll be able to find Ireland’s only Dark Sky Reserve. Here you’ll be able to enjoy some of the finest night skies going with both the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy amongst the constellations that you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of without the help of any specialist equipment.
Kielder Water and Forest Park
And finally we’ve got the Kielder Water and Forest Park. Now being an International Dark Sky Park this one’s slightly different to the others, however according to the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), Kielder has the darkest skies in all of England. But that’s not it! You’ll also be able to find the specialist observatory offering a wide range of experiences days and courses where you can learn all about the skies above.
So how do you fancy taking a trip to try your hand at some stargazing? Happily we’ve got cottages in Snowdonia, Exmoor, Kerry and Kielder, all of which would be the perfect base for your break, why don’t you take a look and see which you fancy?
Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.