Explore the Wonders of the Lake District’s Dark Skies


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The dazzling beauty of the night sky is one of the most astounding sights known to man. Since the dawn of time, gazing up at the stars has inspired us, fuelled our sense of curiosity, and connected us directly with the natural world.

However, because of growing light pollution from towns and cities, recent studies have revealed that almost 90% of Britons are totally unable to see the stars, and it’s thought that over half of the current generation of British children has never seen the mystical splendour of the Milky Way.

While organisations like the International Dark Sky Association fight to protect the night sky and combat the destructive effects of light pollution, it’s important for us to get out and experience the wonders of the heavens for ourselves.

Where better to reconnect with the nightly firmament than in the Lake District, where tranquil waters reflect the towering fells crowned with the stars above? Here are some of the very best places in the Lakes to explore the night sky for yourself.

Low Gillerthwaite Field Centre

This educational charity centre is located in a remote, 17th-century farmhouse in the Ennerdale Valley, and was officially named a Dark Sky Discovery Site by the IDSA in 2011. The secluded setting means star gazers can take in an uninterrupted panorama of the night sky in all its glory. The charity aims to encourage people from all walks of life to appreciate and engage with the environment, and this stunning countryside location makes it easy for anyone to rediscover their love for the starry sky.

Blea Tarn

Blea Tarn in Great Langdale is a dream for avid stargazers. The true seclusion of this mountain water’s location means that a clear night will reveal every remarkable facet of the night sky that’s otherwise hidden from most eyes; shooting stars and twinkling planets all shine down from above the nearby mountain ranges of Langdale and Scafell. A wondrous spectacle to behold.

Grizedale Forest

Famous for the fantastic array of contemporary art sculptures found amid its 4000 hectares of woodland, Grizedale Forest in the Heart of the Lake District provides excellent conditions for stargazing. In such a wild forest setting, it’s only right you should look out for the Pleiades amid the constellations; this cluster of stars is named after the seven nymph sisters from Greek myth who served Artemis, goddess of the hunt and of the wild. The ideal stars to spot in such sylvan surroundings!

Church Fell, Sizergh

It’s well worth the climb away from the area’s villages to study the night sky from the top of Church Fell near the historic fortress of Sizergh Castle. The skies here are so dark that binoculars or a telescope will allow you to glimpse the moons of Jupiter, and catching a meteor shower taking place from here will leave you lost for words.

Top Tips for stargazing in the Lake District

The Pleiades via Flickr – cc2.0.

  • It’s extremely important to stay safe when heading out to secluded spots: always tell someone where you’re going and be sure to take warm clothing, a torch, and a map.
  • It’s a good idea to use red light when map-reading, as this affects night-vision far less than white light.
  • Don’t forget to bring along a pair of binoculars or a telescope, so you can explore the sky in detail.
  • To make sure you spot something especially wonderful, double check astronomy guides and websites to find out what will be happening in the night sky on the date you’re thinking of stargazing.

Find the perfect, secluded cottage for admiring the sky at night with our range of Lake District Cottages.

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