Countdown to Exmoor Dark Skies Festival
The countdown to the popular Exmoor Dark Skies Festival has started. A series of over 60 events for all ages and levels kicks off in Tiverton on 13 October with an astronomy lecture about galaxies, stars, black holes and the James Webb Space Telescope presented by Professor Roger Davies from Oxford University. He will be joined by Dan James from the National Park Authority inspiring people to visit Exmoor for breathtaking stargazing experiences.
“We have events at lots of different venues around the National Park. Whether Exmoor’s dark skies inspire you to decorate a cake, or make you want to walk the perimeter of Wimbleball Lake under the light of a full moon, there really is something for everyone,” said Katrina Munro who organises the festival for Exmoor National Park Authority.
"New for this year are E-Bike night rides arranged by Exmoor Adventures in Porlock and the Exmoor Star Baker competition, also in Porlock. There are several guided wellbeing night walks from Lynton to the iconic Valley of Rocks with Mother Moon. Wildlife lovers might enjoy a dusk safari, an indoor nocturnal wildlife presentation at the Royal Oak, Withypool or family events at the Exmoor Pony Centre," continued Katrina.
Popular astronomer Jo Richardson is hosting events at Kentisbury Grange Hotel, Simonsbath House Hotel and Holsworthy Farm. She’s also a regular presenter at Exmoor Dark Sky Discovery Hub the Poltimore Inn at North Molton where they have an observatory with numerous telescopes and events during the festival and all year round.
For creative children, there are watercolour painting sessions at Lynmouth and the Star Baker competition at Porlock during half term, as well as the chance to enter this year’s festival competition. Children aged up to 16 years are invited to enter a painting or drawing inspired by Exmoor's dark skies to win a Celestron Starsense Telescope.
The authority is taking the huge Space Odyssey mobile planetarium to Tiverton on 17 October and Dunster on 21 October. The fully immersive sessions offer a spectacular 360-degree 3D digital dome experience giving a great way to learn about the skies above us and the universe, and are suitable for all ages.
Throughout the festival participants will be able to take home a free copy of the new Exmoor Dark Skies Pocket Guide which contains hints and tips on the best locations to stargaze in the National Park and what to look for in the night sky.
The Exmoor Dark Skies Festival, which is sponsored by Airband, runs from 13-29 October. Visit www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/darkskiesfestival for a full list of events, or pick up a printed programme from a National Park Centre at Dunster, Dulverton or Lynmouth.
Photo credit: Shaun Davey
Published: 3 October 2023
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