The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) has unveiled 26 brand new Dark Sky Discovery Sites, including six National Trust properties.
The accreditation, which is part of STFC’s Dark Sky Discovery Programme, is awarded to sites that are accessible and free enough from light pollution that they offer a fantastic panorama of the night sky.
The Dark Sky Discovery Sites provide the perfect spot for amateur stargazers keen to test out their new skills.
The announcement comes just ahead of BBC Two’s Stargazing Live series presented by Professor Brian Cox and Dara O Briain, which kicks off on 7 January, providing three nights of stargazing and discussion.
With the longer winter nights, stargazing is a great reason for families to get outdoors. What’s more, stargazing is one of the activities on the National Trust’s list of 50 Things to do Before You’re 11 3/4.
National Trust Sites Awarded Dark Sky Discovery Status:
Allan Bank and Grasmere, Cumbria
The welcoming village of Grasmere, home of Allan Bank house, is nestled with its two picturesque lakes against a dramatic backdrop of Lake District fells. It’s the perfect place to explore, relax, reflect and be inspired.
The varied landscape is accommodating to outdoor enthusiasts and intrepid explorers of all levels.
Broad Haven car park, Stackpole, Pembrokeshire
A former grand estate stretching down to some of the most beautiful coastline in the world, Stackpole is the perfect spot for stargazing. Cliffs, sand dunes and tiny coves alternate along eight miles of coastline. This secluded bay can only be reached by a cliff path walk from Stackpole Quay, which is itself a beautiful tiny harbour used by local fishermen and small pleasure boats.
Carnewas and Bedruthan Steps, Cornwall
Carnewas is one of the most popular destinations on the Cornish coast. This piece of coastline keeps itself hidden as you first enter the car park. However, take a short walk along the paths and you will be rewarded with views that are arguably some of the most impressive in Cornwall and a perfect place for stargazing.
Emmetts Garden, Kent
An Edwardian estate, the beautiful garden at Emmetts was laid out in the late 19th century and contains many exotic and rare trees and shrubs from across the world. After exploring the rose and rock gardens, you can take in the wonderful views, enjoy the flowers or spot stars at night.
Leigh Woods, Avon
A beautiful haven on Bristol’s doorstep, Leigh Woods offers diverse woodland and wonderful views of Avon Gorge. The woods are perfect not only for stargazing but cycling, walking and orienteering as well.
St Agnes and Chapel Porth, Cornwall
St Agnes and Chapel Porth offers a breathtaking coastal landscape, with panoramic views, plenty of heritage and wonderful wildlife to spot on your visit. A vast low tide beach and a sea of glowing heather make it hard to believe this area once had an industrial past.
To find out more about stargazing at National Trust sites and for some handy tips, visit http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/activities/stargazing/.