Deep in the heart of Northumberland you can experience a night sky which is out of this world
According to the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), the star-studded skies above Kielder Water & Forest Park are the darkest in England.
Our skies are so truly dark, that together with Northumberland National Park and Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society, we have been awarded Gold Tier Dark Sky Park status by the International Dark Skies Association (IDA) in December 2013 – the highest accolade the IDA can give.
Our dark sky zone, known as Northumberland Dark Sky Park, is the largest area of protected night sky in Europe.
It is the first of its kind in England and one of the largest in the world, joining the likes of Death Valley and Big Bend Dark Sky Parks in the USA.
The IDA are the leading international organisation working to combat light pollution worldwide. Becoming a Dark Sky Park means that our night skies will be kept free from light pollution and we can create more opportunities for people to be inspired by the stars.
It is estimated that 85% of the UK population has never seen a truly dark sky or experienced the sense of wonder that a clear night filled with billions of stars can give!
Kielder Water & Forest Park is a fantastic place for star gazing and home to Kielder Observatory, as seen on Robson Green’s Tales from Northumberland.
Since the observatory opened in 2008 it has attracted nearly 30,000 people with its exciting programme of astronomical events throughout the year. See our events page for more information.
But you don’t just have to go to the observatory to see our star attractions!
Kielder campsite is filled twice a year by the Kielder Forest Star Camp which draws hundreds of observers from across the UK for five nights of stargazing. See the Kielder Observatory website for more information.
The best time for stargazing is during the autumn and winter months, when the nights draw in. Pack up your binoculars, a deckchair and a hot drink and sit back and enjoy a star-studded show. For more hints and tips on stargazing see our Northumberland Dark Sky Park leaflet.
It’s not just stargazers who benefit from the reduced light pollution, Kielder Water & Forest Park is abundant with a variety of wildlife. The dark skies can enhance the habitat for many of our woodland species such as birds, bats, moths and insects.