The long autumn and winter evenings provide the perfect opportunity to enjoy the starlit skies above Northumberland National Park. The whole area enjoys extremely low light pollution and there are plans to create an International Dark Sky Reserve, potentially making it the third largest area of protected starry sky in the world.
Bellingham Club Site is at the gateway to the National Park and enjoys spectacular night skies. By way of introduction, a small catadioptric telescope and star maps are available for campers to borrow (or simply start out with a pair of binoculars). Nearby Kielder Forest boasts its very own Observatory housing two powerful telescopes for budding astronomers to observe the wonders of this big sky county. It is hoped that Kielder will become England’s first-ever Dark Sky Park.
Campers at our Haltwhistle Club Site should head to Cawfields. Once a working quarry, Cawfields is now a Dark Sky Discovery Site, ideal for stargazing due to no nearby light pollution. You’ll find it just off the B6318, near Haltwhistle (opposite The Milecastle Inn).
What you’ll see:
The dark winter skies are best for viewing deep sky objects like galaxies. Use Kielder Observatory’s telescope in the summer to see the Milky Way, passing comets and shooting stars.
If you want to learn more about our shimmering night skies the Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society hosts around 150 events annually including open days, interactive shows, observing nights and lectures.Find out more.
In 2011 Exmoor National Park was designated Europe’s first International Dark Sky Reserve in recognition of its dark skies making it one of England’s best stargazing locations. The park’s special protected status means lighting controls are in place to prevent light pollution.
Both Lynton and Minehead Club Sites sit within the boundaries of the National Park and are perfectly located as a base from which campers can head up on to the moors and experience the exceptional quality of the starry skies over Exmoor. The best stargazing spots include Dunkery Beacon, Holdstone Hill, County Gate, Brendon Two Gates, Webbers Post, Anstey Gate, Haddon Hill and Wimbleball Lake.
To help you explore Exmoor’s amazing darks skies you can hire a telescope from the National Park Visitor Centres at Dulverton, Dunster and Lynmouth.
Camp at: Lynton, Minehead, Umberleigh or Damage Barton Club Sites