Dark Skies Festival News for Dark Sky Week

Milky way Brayford

As the dark sky community celebrates International Dark Sky Week (15-22 April), Exmoor National Park is up there with the likes of Tenerife and Portugal, celebrating having some of the darkest skies in Europe. On Exmoor, stargazing events are being run this week by Wild About Exmoor,  Moor Wild Experiences and the Poltimore Inn and Observatory at North Molton.

Advocates from the International Dark-Sky Association are busy sharing messages around the world about how light pollution can affect the natural cycles of plants, animals and humans and the simple solutions we can all put in place to protect our night skies. Plants and animals depend on Earth’s daily cycle of light and dark rhythm to govern life-sustaining behaviours such as reproduction, nourishment, sleep and protection from predators.

Julie Layzell, Future Landscapes Officer at Exmoor National Park Authority said “Everyone can do their bit. It’s a time to reflect on our own actions, our own types of lighting and when and how we use them. It can be as simple as turning off lights when they’re not needed or ensuring that light is directed downwards to the ground rather than up into the sky. Less powerful bulbs and those with a warm coloured glow are all less harmful to the night sky and those creatures who rely on darkness.”

Protecting our dark skies can also benefit the research of astronomers and the enjoyment and experiences or stargazers of all ages. The tranquillity of dark skies can bring a great sense of well-being and a chance to wonder and contemplate our common bond with others around the world.

These are all aspects that are celebrated every autumn during the annual Exmoor Dark Skies Festival. Now in its 6th year, the festival includes over 50 events taking place all over the National Park and for many star-loving visitors, it has become a regular feature on their holiday calendar.

Airband Community Internet are sponsors of this year’s festival. Sarah Eden from Airband said “We’re delighted to be supporting the National Park and being associated with this popular event. We look forward to meeting residents and visitors from all over the South West.”

Katrina Munro, from Exmoor National Park Authority, who organises the festival said “I’m delighted to report that this year’s festival, running from 13-29 October, is already shaping up to busy one with lots of new events and exciting speakers. I’ve been working with businesses and other Exmoor organisations and the first events have already been added to our festival webpage to give visitors an idea of what treats are in store for them. To satisfy the increased interest in well-being, this year we have added ‘star-baking’, singing, yoga and crafts to the more traditional guided stargazing, astronomy talks and planetarium sessions.”

“One new challenge for families and groups will be to take on the 9-mile Moonlit night walk around Wimbleball Lake” continued Katrina. “It’s a joint venture and fundraising challenge from Exmoor Search & Rescue, Exmoor National Park Authority and South West lakes Trust. This event will be ideal for anyone wanting to take on a memorable dark sky experience in this idyllic location. Whether or not the skies are clear, this will be ideal way to learn some night navigation skills within the safety of a fully-marshalled event.”

More details about stargazing on Exmoor and this year’s festival can be found at .

International Dark Sky Week 15-22 April Read more at Home - International Dark Sky Week

Photo: Exmoor Milky Way over Brayford,  Credit:  Panagiotis Andreou (

A reminder of how lights from home can spill into the darkness

Published: 13 April 2023

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