Moves to gain Dark Sky status for up 400 square miles of Northumberland are gathering pace as stargazers reveal the stunning beauty of the region’s starry skies.
An audit of external lighting is underway in Kielder Water & Forest Park and parts of Northumberland National Park and residents in selected areas have been sent letters to explain the process and ask for their co-operation. The exercise is a key step in an application process which will eventually be adjudicated by the Tucson-based International Dark Skies Association. The aim is to demonstrate a commitment to tackling wasteful light pollution and helping us maintain the rural character of the area.
If successful, Kielder Water & Forest Park would become England’s only Dark Sky Park and the National Park would assume the mantle of Europe’s biggest Dark Sky Reserve. The ambitious project is a joint bid by the Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, Northumberland National Park and Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society.
Meanwhile, high profile support has been received from the Royal Observatory Greenwich. Director Dr Kevin Fewster said:
“The creation of a Dark Sky Reserve in the north east will help increase awareness of astronomy across the region as well as securing access to dark skies for future generations.”
And with visitors still flocking to the acclaimed Kielder Observatory, amateur stargazers attending the Kielder Forest Star Camp have captured staggering images of celestial objects above the 155,000 acre wilderness. Nearly 150 people from across the UK camped out for up to five days drawn by some of England’s darkest skies, where light pollution doesn’t snub out the beauty of the stars.
To find out more go to www.visitkielder.com – the official website for Kielder Water and Forest Park.