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Dark Skies Festival

Join us to celebrate and explore the wonders of Exmoor after Dark

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Dark Skies Festival Events

Below is a summary list of the events being run by the National Park and partner organisations including booking links. Use promo code 'EARLYBIRD' to get 10% off ENPA run events booked before 15 September 

Why not enjoy a self-catering stay at our Pinkery Centre during Dark Sky Festival Week? - its right in the darkest part of our Dark Sky Reserve! Find out more here.

dark skies festival


Tuesday 17th October 7.30pm - Minehead Regal Film Society, Regal Theatre

Film Showing -  2001: A Space Odyssey
This classic Stanley Kubrick's mind-blowing 1968 sci-fi classic co-written by Arthur C Clarke who was born in Minehead. Arthur C Clarke memorabilia will be temporarily on display here courtesy of Minehead Museum.  
Advance booking recommended at the Regal Box Office, The Avenue, Minehead or call 01643 706430. Adult £5, Child £3.


Thursday 19th October 10.30am - Dulverton Town Hall

Astrophotography Talk 'Night Sky Photography First steps'
The Royal Photographic Society are delighted to present a 1.5-2hr talk by Dr Lilian Hobbs as part of Visit Exmoor's 'Focus on Exmoor' photography festival. Would you like to take some photographs of the night sky, but don’t know how or think your camera is not good enough, then come along and hear how to get started in taking photographs of the night sky. All you need is a camera a tripod, and some clear skies. We will even learn how to take star trails photos using  an action camera like a GoPro. Lilian Hobbs LRPS is an astro-photographer living close to the light polluted skies of Southampton, where she takes most of her photographs from her garden observatory which has been featured on the BBC Sky at Night. Ticket price £5.
Book at http://www.rps.org/events/2017/october/19/night-sky-photography-first-steps


Friday 20th October 7pm – Winsford Village Hall

Festival Launch and Astronomy Talk by Will Gater (Astronomer, journalist and presenter) & Sarah Bryan Chief Executive of Exmoor National Park.
Tonight he’ll be talking about Exmoor's dark skies and the spectacle of the Northern Lights and how, under the right conditions, they can be photographed - and occasionally seen - from dark-sky sites like Exmoor. Ticket Price £5.
Book Here


Friday 20th October 6pm - Bossington Beach

Glow Stick Night Swim
As 'wild' outdoor swimming grows in popularity, join the 'Channel Adventure' team for a night swim with glow sticks at Bossington Beach.
Visit their website www.channeladventure.co.uk for further details.


Friday 20th October 7pm - Westermill Farm, Exford

Guided Night Walk & Camping option
Join the Channel Adventure team for a guided night walk from Westermill farm. There's also great camping available there and other adventurous daytime activities.
Visit their website www.channeladventure.co.uk for further details.


Saturday 21st October – Depart Exford 5.30pm

Dusk Safari by Barle Valley Safaris
Learn about the area from the knowledgeable team on a 2.5hr safari. Experience real Exmoor on a dusk safari; hear intriguing local legends and listen out for the red deer stags bolving. Price £25pp Book by calling 07977 571494 or email exmoorwildlifesafaris@gmail.com


Saturday 21st October 6pm to 10pm - Wimbleball Lake

Astro Party
‘Your Place in Space’ themed family party hosted by UK Space Ambassador Jo Richardson from Space Detectives with interaction and audience participation, space crafts, experiments and virtual reality headsets, followed by Stargazing with Tiverton & Mid Devon Astronomy Society, Night Forest Walk with a National Park Ranger, and Campfire and Marshmallows.
Book here


Saturday 21st October 7pm - Westermill Farm, Exford

Guided Night Walk & Camping
Join the Channel Adventure team for a guided night walk from Westermill farm. There's also great camping available there on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st and other daytime activities.
Visit their website www.channeladventure.co.uk for further details.


Sunday 22nd October 5.15pm - 8.30pm -  Webber's Post

Meteors over Dunkery Walk
Join an Exmoor Ranger to walk to the top of Dunkery Beacon as the sun goes down, where hopefully we may see a meteor shower in action. The red deer rut should also be in full swing, so we should see and hear them in the gathering darkness. No need to book -  just turn up.


Sunday 22nd October 7pm - Dulverton Town Hall

Film Showing: Close Encounters of the Third Kind (cert PG)  Celebrating the 40th anniversary of this acclaimed sci-fi adventure about a group of people who attempt to contact alien intelligence. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Tickets non-members £4.50, students and accompanied children £2.50. Tickets may be available on the door at £4. Book in advance at Dulverton Post Office 01398 323474 or e-mail janaross2003@yahoo.co.uk Bar open from 7pm.


Monday 23rd October -  Lynton Town Hall

Planetarium Afternoon and evening sessions -  Choose and book your session here.


Monday 23rd October - 7pm Lynton Town Hall, Jubilee Room

Exmoor Stargazing Adventure with Astronomer Seb Jay - A Journey across the Universe
A talk by Seb Jay followed by stargazing with Exmoor Stargazers
Book Here


Tuesday 24th October - Dulverton Town Hall

Planetarium Afternoon & evening sessions  -Choose and book your session here.


Tuesday 24th October – 6pm - Goat Hill

Night Navigation & Stargazing Walk
Enjoy an exhilarating walk across Exmoor on a clear, moonless night with an Exmoor National Park Ranger.
Book Here


Tuesday 24th October 5.30pm - Exford

Dusk Safari by Barle Valley Safaris
Learn about the area from the knowledgeable team on a 2.5hr safari. Experience real Exmoor on a dusk safari; hear intriguing local legends and listen out for the red deer stags bolving. Price £25pp Book by calling 07977 571494 or email exmoorwildlifesafaris@gmail.com


Tuesday 24th October 6.30 to 9pm - National Trust Dunster Castle

After Dark: Family fright night
Whether you're 5 or 50 you can scare yourself silly on our self-led ghostly walk in the castle grounds. Bring your torch. Adult £4, Child £2. NT members free. No booking required. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/0c16fb43-83fe-46f2-baa0-b4a9683361ab/pages/details


Wednesday 25th October 10am to 4pm - Webbers Post

Big Adventure Day
with National Park Rangers. Explore the natural world with family games and activities. Play in the woodland, make a den, do some solar gazing with a giant telescope and maybe hear the roaring stags. Hot drinks and food available. Free event, donation to CareMoor invited. No need to book  -  just turn up  Why not come back for the Stargazing evening at 7pm?


Wednesday 25th October 7pm - Webbers Post

Exmoor Stargazing Adventure with Astronomer Seb Jay - A Journey across the Universe A talk by astronomer Seb Jay followed by stargazing with giant telescopes and Exmoor Stargazers. Hot drinks and food available.
Book Here


Wednesday 25th October 6pm - Pinkery Pond  

Glow Stick Night Swim
with Channel Adventure. As 'wild' outdoor swimming grows in popularity, join their team for a rare opportunity for a night swim in Pinkery Pond. Visit their website www.channeladventure.co.uk for further details. **Why not combine this event with a stay at our National Park Pinkery Outdoor Centre?**


Thursday 26th October 5.30pm - Exford

Dusk Safari by Barle Valley Safaris
Learn about the area from the knowledgeable team on a 2.5hr safari. Experience real Exmoor on a dusk safari; hear intriguing local legends and listen out for the red deer stags bolving. Price £25pp Book by calling 07977 571494 or email exmoorwildlifesafaris@gmail.com


Thursday 26th October – Evening - Time and transport by arrangement

Starry-night Farm Visit with West Country Farm & Food Tours
Enjoy a unique night time tour to a very remote farm deep in the heart of the moors.  Tour includes transport and stargazing followed by a visit into the farmhouse, sit and relax in front of the massive inglenook fire and enjoy home-made bread and soup, tastings and refreshments.  Tour strictly limited to 14 people.
For details contact Shaun on 01643 863002 or visit www.westcountry-farmandfood-tours.co.uk


Thursday 26th October 6.30 to 9pm - National Trust Dunster Castle

After Dark: Family fright night
Whether you're 5 or 50 you can scare yourself silly on our self-led ghostly walk in the castle grounds. Bring your torch. Adult £4, Child £2. NT members free. No booking required.


Thursday 26th October 5pm -  Webber's Post

Children's Night Ride - Balance bikers to under 16s  
A fun kids off-road biking event as part of the Minehead Merlins race series. Registration and practice from 5pm, first race starts at 5.45pm. Cost £3. Enquiries to Alicia Hockin 07717 83558 or visit www.facebook.com/MinheadMerlins


Friday 27th October 7pm -  Nutcombe Bottom

Forest Wildlife & Stargazing Walk

with the Hawk & Owls Trust Chris Sperring and Forestry Commission Ranger Andy Harris. Free event but please book in advance, visit  www.facebook.com/greatwoodforestry


Saturday 28th October - Dunster Tithe Barn

Planetarium, Solar Telescope/Stargazing Sessions, Astro Workshop & Astrophotography Display throughout the day and evening. Exeter University Astrophysics group will be running hands-on indoor activities and exhibition of space images and the latest research.  Choose and book your session here.


Saturday 28th October 5.30pm - Exford

Dusk Safari by Barle Valley Safaris Learn about the area from the knowledgeable team on a 2.5hr safari. Experience real Exmoor on a dusk safari; hear intriguing local legends and listen out for the red deer stags bolving. Price £25pp Book by calling 07977 571494 or email exmoorwildlifesafaris@gmail.com


Saturday 28th October, 7pm -  Kipscombe Threshing Barn, Countisbury

Kipscombe Harvest Feast with Stargazing at this National Trust owned site. Join a long table communal feast for maximum of 40 in the Threshing Barn.  Price £30 a head to include 3 courses. Rustic decoration, locally sourced seafood and Exmoor game, making the most out of the spirit of the barn itself and the secluded location;  followed by a candlelit walkway to a cosy campfire for your dessert under the stars with input and stargazing under the guidance of  Tim Wetherell of Exmoor Stargazers. Booking enquiries to: seadogfoods@outlook.com


Thursday 2nd November 7pm - Wootton Courtenay

Stargazing Supper at Dunkery Beacon Country House Hotel Enjoy a chilli supper and presentation by astronomer Seb Jay then use of their 6” Newtonian telescope under Seb’s expert guidance. An alternative indoor presentation will be held in the event of poor weather. An accommodation package is also available. Visit www.dunkerybeaconaccommodation.co.uk for full details and booking.


& Running throughout the Festival:

Minehead Museum: Arthur C Clarke exhibition. Celebrating the birth of Arturo C Clarke in Minehead 100 years ago. This small but well-loved museum opposite the Railway Station celebrates all things Minehead. Free entry Tues-Sun.

Dunster and Lynmouth National Park Centres - Astro-photography exhibition by the Royal Photographic Society.

Porlock - Astro-influenced arts and crafts focus - There will be a variety of child and family friendly arts and crafts sessions, story-telling and a 'Dark Walk' with hot chocolate and marshmallows. Also, dark-skies influenced art exhibitions by local artists around the village. More information from the Porlock Visitor Centre.

For further details contact Katrina Munro - KJMunro@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk

Voyager dome