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Dark Skies Festival


Exmoor Dark Skies Festival 2021

Friday 22nd October to Sunday 7th November 

This popular festival, kindly sponsored by www.celestron.com will be in its 5th Year in 2021. With a variety of festival events for families and adults taking place all over Exmoor, why not book yourself some accommodation and make a holiday of it?

Dark Skies Haiku Challenge

For the chance to win your very own Celestron telescope, we are inviting young people of school age to join our poetry challenge and create a Haiku poem inspired by Exmoor’s Dark Skies. The poems must be a traditional Haiku in three lines of five, seven, five syllables. Read more here. Submit your entries to haiku@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk, closing date 7th November.

Festival Events List

Download a Word document here showing all the events in an easy to read table or scroll down this page. Events are listed in date order. For Ts&Cs please refer to the relevant event organiser. Further event details will be added here as soon as they are confirmed. All events are subject to Covid restrictions.

Most dates throughout the festival 10.00am or 11.30am
Exmoor Owl & Wildlife Sanctuary, Allerford - Dark Skies Owls Experience

Enjoy a one hour Dark Skies Owl Experience to include three British (Exmoor) owls flown to the gloved hand in our Owl Barn. Visitors can learn about their natural history, and their individual hunting techniques in the wild and why dark skies are so important.  The price will be £40 for a group of one or two participants; plus £10 per additional person - max 6 people.10.00am-11.00am or 11.30am - 12.30pm. Other Birds of Prey Experiences available too.

Most dates throughout the festival
Depart Exford - Exmoor Barle Valley Wildlife Safaris - Dusk Safaris

Book an exclusive date for you and your family/group (up to 7 passengers) for £175. Meet experienced guide Daphne Brace before departing on an adventure around Exmoor in her Landrover as the sun goes down. Hopefully see some red deer and stars (weather permitting) and hear myths and legends. Call Daphne on 07977571494
www.facebook.com/ExmoorBarleValleyWildlifeSafaris
www.exmoorwildlifesafaris.com

Friday 22 Oct 7pm
Virtual Event - Exmoor National Park Authority - On-line Introduction to Exmoor's Dark Skies

Join Ben Totterdell and astronomer Jo Richardson for a FREE live on-line session covering:
*Exmoor - International Dark Sky Reserve
*Light Pollution
*Where to go
*What to do and take
*What to see in the Autumn sky
*Q&A

Friday 22 Oct 6pm
Exford - Wild About Exmoor - Night Hike & Farmhouse Supper

www.wildaboutexmoor.com info@wildaboutexmoor.com    01643 831759

Friday 22-Mon 25 Oct
Lanacre Barn Gallery, Withypool - - Exmoor's Dark Skies Art Exhibition

Receive a warm welcome at Lanacre Barn Gallery in the heart of Exmoor where a talented group of local artists will be exhibiting a large and varied selection of artworks all inspired by the National Park's dark skies. Free Entry. More details of artists and opening times on gallery website: www.moorlandart.com

Friday 22-Sunday 24 Oct
Yarn Market Hotel, Dunster - Stargazing Weekend

Expert talks and guided stargazing sessions for guests booking onto these popular darks skies weekends. Read more at Star Gazing Breaks | Yarn Market Hotel

Saturday 23 Oct 6pm
Exford - Dark Skies Discovery Hub Event

Dark Skies Discovery Hub Planetarium presentation, meal and optional night hike.
www.wildaboutexmoor.com info@wildaboutexmoor.com    01643 831759

Saturday 23 Oct  
Dunster Tithe Barn- Exmoor National Park Authority - Planetarium Sessions & Astronomy Talks

Planetarium details not yet confirmed but we'll certainly be joined by astronomer Simon Holbeche giving family* and adult** talks on:
*Spotting the Planets – when and how to catch a view of the planets and discover the interesting paths they follow
*Occasional Visitors – comets, asteroids and meteorites
*The story of the Telescope – how 400 years moved the centre of the Universe
*Conspicuous Constellations – a tour of northern hemisphere constellations and asterisms
**Wi-Fi Telescopes - Brrrrr it's cold out there. Wouldn't it be good to be warm and comfy on the settee whilst exploring the Universe? A guide to automating observing and using remote telescopes.
**A year in Opposition - Each midnight, a different star is due south. This goes on for a full year before the cycle starts again. The planets, dwarf planets and asteroids also visit. Only Mercury and Venus escape the relentless spin and their evening of fame to the south. We take the tour of the forthcoming year at this point opposite the Sun.

Monday 25 Oct
Exford - Wild about Exmoor - Night Hike Stargazing & Pub Supper

www.wildaboutexmoor.com info@wildaboutexmoor.com   01643 831759

Tuesday 26 Oct
Pinkery Centre, Simonsbath - Exmoor National Park Authority - Family Dark Skies Event

Come and learn about our dark skies and enjoy guided stargazing (weather permitting) and night walk around this magnificent rural landscape under the guidance of astronomer Jo Richardson with bushcraft and outdoor activities supported by our Young Rangers and our National Park Ranger staff.  Suitable for ages 8 plus.

Tuesday 26 Oct
Exford - Exford Dark Skies Discovery Hub Event

Dark Skies Discovery Hub Planetarium presentation, meal and optional night hike.
www.wildaboutexmoor.com info@wildaboutexmoor.com   01643 831759

Wednesday 27 Oct 6pm
Westerclose House, Withypool - Dark Skies Evening
(B&B or self- catering cottages also available) Knowledgeable expert speaker/presenter Terry Evans from Exmoor Stargazers will be leading the evening. Starting indoors with a presentation before going out to view with a telescope etc. (or outside in barn if unable to hold indoors - depending on weather/Covid). Supper - hot soup, sausages, baked potatoes etc. Plenty of parking available. £15/adult, £5/child under 12. Call 01643 831302 or email polly@westerclose.co.uk www.westerclose.co.uk

Wednesday 27th October 7pm-9pm Valley of Rocks and Hollerday Hill night walk. Enjoy the peace of the valley, taking in the beauty of the night sky in a stunning part of Exmoor. Your local guide Jess Twydall of Mother Moon will meet you at Lynton Town Hall. The tour will include tales of the past and local history. Jess is also keen on the moon cycles and how they impact our moods and emotions throughout the month. So this a very much a walk for well-being, slowing down and enjoying the tranquility that Exmoor brings. £10 per person, children go free. Bookings 07716 223270 or email info@mother-moon.co.uk

Wednesday 27th &Thursday 28th October 5.30-7.30pm Exmoor Pony Centre, Ashwick, Dulverton, TA22 9QE Join the Exmoor ponies in discovering the Wildlife at Night on Exmoor. Family friendly event to inspire everyone to engage in their local wildlife. Hot chocolate and marshmallows. Opportunity to interact with and learn about the ponies. Booking essential. Charge: Adult £4, Under 16 £3. Contact details: info@exmoorponycentre.org.uk or 01398323093

Friday 29 Oct 5pm-8pm
Wimbleball Lake Activity Centre - Bump in the Night! (Family event)

A fun filled and freaky pre-Halloween evening of spooky themed family activities. Take part in a twilight bat walk and learn about some of the nocturnal wildlife that calls Wimbleball home, look up to the sky and see what cosmic constellations you can spot before following the pumpkin path and testing your autumnal knowledge.
There is something for everyone with opportunities to take part in Halloween and Dark Skies themed woodwork, environmental art and outdoor cooking.
£3 per child & £2 per adult. For updates, please keep an eye on our Facebook page @wimbleballlake or website www.swlakestrust.org.uk/Pages/Events/Category/whats-on

Friday 29 Oct
Exford - Exford Dark Skies Discovery Hub Event

Dark Skies Discovery Hub Planetarium presentation, meal and optional night hike.
www.wildaboutexmoor.com info@wildaboutexmoor.com  01643 831759

Friday 29th October 5pm & 7pm (2 consecutive events)

Doone Valley -  Dark Skies Wildlife Walk with National Trust Rangers (with Night Vision Cameras) Meet at the Buttery (NT Tea-room) Postcode EX35 6NU National Trust event. We will offer escorted guided walks along the Doone Valley with our National Trust Rangers and will be using night vision cameras to see what amazing evening wildlife we can observe! On return to the Buttery after an hour or so, guests will be offered a warming hot drink. The inclusive ticket price will be £10 for adults and £6 for children. There will also be an opportunity to buy our own locally sourced NT burgers or hotdogs, served with wedges (at an additional cost). Booking link to be advised.

Saturday 30 Oct
Horner Farm, Nr. Porlock - Autumn Feast under the Stars

Enjoy a fabulous local produce meal in this amazing farm setting. With clear skies you'll be surrounded by stars as you are welcomed by farmers Holly & Mark who will also give an informal talk about running an Exmoor farm and the surrounding wildlife. Further details TBC. www.horner-farm.co.uk/events

Saturday 30 Oct
Exford - Wild about Exmoor- Night Hike & Farmhouse Supper

www.wildaboutexmoor.com info@wildaboutexmoor.com  01643 831759

Monday 1 Nov
Exford - Wild about Exmoor - Night Hike Stargazing & Pub Supper

www.wildaboutexmoor.com info@wildaboutexmoor.com  01643 831759

Tuesday 2 Nov
Exford - Exford Dark Skies Discovery Hub Event

Dark Skies Discovery Hub Planetarium style presentation, meal and optional night hike.
www.wildaboutexmoor.com info@wildaboutexmoor.com  01643 831759

Wednesday 3 Nov

Haddon Hill Ranger Guided Walk & Stargazing - Join our National Park Rangers and astronomers from Tiverton & Mid Devon Astronomy Club on a guided night walk around this spectacular site. Booking link will be added here in due course.

Thursday 4 Nov 7pm
Parracombe - Heale Farm - Heale Stars and Nature Evening

With spectacular views of the sea and moors, Heale Farm, Parracombe, is set in 23 acres of pasture, woodland and grazing and access rights over a further 18 acres of rugged Exmoor land. Heale Stars and Nature evening offers a wonderful opportunity to immerse in nature,  taking the time to stare at the wonder of the dark skies. Arriving at 7pm we will walk through the moor to our field looking East across to the sea, we will walk, gaze, and wonder, followed by sitting around the Fire Pit with a late graze box supper. Price per person £25. More info and booking hello@healefarm.co.uk   www.healefarm.co.uk 01598 763813 / 07879 637359

Friday 5 Nov
Exford - Wild about Exmoor - Night Hike & Farmhouse Supper

www.wildaboutexmoor.com info@wildaboutexmoor.com    01643 831759

Saturday 6 Nov
Wimbleball Lake Activity Centre - Exmoor National Park Authority - Family Astro Party

Join our National Park Rangers, education officers and astronomer Jo Richardson for a fun indoor and outdoor astro family-orientated event. Astronomers on hand to help with constellations spotting. Details to be confirmed.

Saturday 6 Nov
Exford - Exford Dark Skies Discovery Hub Event

Dark Skies Discovery Hub Planetarium presentation, meal and optional night hike.
www.wildaboutexmoor.com info@wildaboutexmoor.com    01643 831759

Tuesday 16 Nov
Wootton Courtenay Village Hall, Nr. Dunster -Stargazing Supper Evening (Nebula Nosh)

An event from Dunkery Beacon Country House Hotel – join an indoor astronomical presentation with professional astronomer Seb Jay and weather permitting a guided tour of the night sky using professional telescopes. Ticket price is £21.50 & includes a simple supper and first drink. To book & pay for tickets Tel. 01643841241. Beautiful boutique accommodation also available at nearby Dunkery Beacon Country House Hotel www.dunkerybeaconaccommodation.co.uk

There is a list of accommodation businesses  and stargazing experience providers who have been accredited as Exmoor Dark Sky Friendly businesses. They have all received training and are able to help you make the most of  our dark skies during your stay. Details at www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/enjoying/stargazing

Festival Organiser - If you'd like to run an event in 2021 or know more about the festival in general then please contact Katrina Munro   KJMunro@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk


'Exmoor at Night’ Photography & Astrophotography

See the winning photographs from our 2020 competition below. (Depending in your device, they may look better if you follow the Flickr link below the image. You will also find judges' comments there.)

For the related press release dated 16th October 2020 please click here

Exmoor at Night Photo Competition 2020