The North York Moors – International Dark Sky Reserve
The North York Moors National Park was awarded International Dark Sky Reserve status back in December 2020 along with The Yorkshire Dales. This was in recognition of the superb naturally dark night skies, free of light pollution and the ongoing commitment to protecting them long into the future. Combined, the two parks cover almost 1,400 square miles, creating the largest dark sky area in the UK and one of the biggest throughout Europe.
The North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales Dark Skies Festival will be held from 18th February to the 6th March 2022 to celebrate some of the darkest and star studded skies in Great Britain. It provides a wonderful opportunity for visitors to get out and appreciate the unbelievable clear night skies. You could see up to 10 times the number of stars that would see in a city of town because of the very low levels of light pollution in the National Park.
The Dark Skies Festival
The Dark Skies Festival is holding a number of events that visitors to the area and locals can enjoy. These include some of the best places to experience and appreciate the incredible night sights. On a clear night in the right spots can see up to 2,000 stars, look for planets, see shooting stars, meteors, and even the International Space Station speeding across the skies at 17,000 mph.
The festival includes a series of events being held across the North York Moors National Park and these include annual favourites such as night zips at in Dalby Forest, ghost walks in Robin Hood’s Bay, stargazing safaris, new moon gatherings and mindful meanders. It is also an opportunity to learn about the secrets of the night skies, astro-photography, night-time navigation and astronomy.
This year includes new and exciting additions that include a dark skies exhibition, a mindful night walk in Whitby, dark skies run, art workshops and new moon gatherings.
Where to go Stargazing
Other stargazing locations to get your binoculars out, look upwards and scan the panoramic clear skies be mesmerised by its spectacular beauty:
Great Stargazing Locations in the North York Moors Dark Sky Reserve Include:
- Rievaulx Terrace near Helmsley – Lovely viewing point to view the night sky (closest location to Helmsley Hideaway)
- Goathland Village Car Park – Recommended Stargazing Site
- Dalby Forest Visitor Centre – Astronomical Society, Dark Skies Discovery Site, Observatory
- Hutton-le-Hole Car Park – Recommended Stargazing Site
- Boggle Hole Car Park – Go Stargazing Site
- Blakey Ridge Car Park – Aurora Viewpoint, Go Stargazing Site
- Chop Gate Village Car Park – Recommended Stargazing Site
- Sutton Bank Visitor Centre – Fantastic location to explore the dark skies above the North York Moors
North York Moors Dark Skies Festival Events & Dates
North York Moors Dark Skies Festival – 18th February – 6th March 2022
- Dark Skies walk at Sutton Bank – experience walking with expansive dark skies above the lofty escarpment of Sutton Bank
- Helmsley and Rievaulx – The Cistercian Walk – This is a 7 mile circular walk linking ancient monuments set within the beautiful North York Moors
- Night Navigation Experience – Learn how to go walking at night!
- North York Moors National Park: Our dark skies journey
- Dark Skies – Walking in Heartbeat country, experience Mallyan Spout Waterfall
- Dark Skies exhibitions at Inspired by… gallery
- Twilight to Moonlight – wellbeing for women experience – a nature meander at twilight and end being bathed by moonlight
- Robin Hood’s Bay Ghost Walk – tales of the strange and supernatural mingling with ancient legends, smugglers, shipwrecks
- Nocturnal Adventure at Cropton – Go stalking wildlife in the woodland with night vision goggles
- Twilight moors – Guided walk along the tops of the Cleveland Hills towards sunset.
For More Information:
- Dark Skies Festival, North York Moors – https://www.darkskiesnationalparks.org.uk/north-york-moors-events
- North York Moors National Park, Dark Skies – https://www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/discover/dark-skies
- Go Stargazing – https://gostargazing.co.uk/regions/dark-sky-park/north-york-moors-national-park/
- Helmsley Hideaway – https://helmsleyhideaway.com/