Dark Skies Cumbria

Saving Our Night Skies

Cumbria's dark skies allow us to see the natural wonder of the stars, but are also critical for the health wildlife and our own natural well-being. Sadly light pollution in Cumbria is increasing each year, threatening to obscure our view of the stars and blinding and confusing animals so they can’t feed or find a mate. We need urgent action now to stop light pollution. Stargazers, photographers, wildlife lovers and local communities… please help.


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The Lake District and Cumbria offers some of the most spectacular and precious skyscapes in England and we want you to join us on an interstellar adventure. Download our Dark Sky Discovery Pack and get started today!

Twenty-two new environmentally and dark sky friendly lights are benefitting nature and people in the town of Sedbergh.

Friends of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority are helping Sedbergh Parish Council reduce the town’s light pollution, carbon emissions and energy costs.

Friends of the Lake District’s Dark Skies Officer, Jack Ellerby, explains:

“The new lights are modern energy efficient LEDs, with four heritage style versions on brackets in the town centre.  And similar to schemes in Lorton and Patterdale in the Lake District, and Dent in the Yorkshire Dales.

“The Parish Council, concerned at the rising cost of running and repairing its footway lights, worked with us and Westmorland and Furness Council’s lighting officers, to assess and identify some new lighting. An important consideration is that the Yorkshire Dales area of Cumbria is also designated an international dark sky reserve.

“The design of the new lights means their beam throws light onto path and road surfaces, rather than up into the sky. They are a warmer colour too, which is gentler on our eyes and better for wildlife that’s active overnight. Plus the lights dim by 50% after 9pm, and go off between 12pm to 6am.” 

Busk Lane, Sedbergh.

Steven Longlands, Sedbergh Parish Councillor who helped with the project, said: “Working together made this happen and cut our electricity costs by a staggering 78%. Special thanks to our Clerk Janey Hassam, the Friends of the Lake District and the Council’s Lighting Team. We are also grateful for funding from Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund and Cumbria Action for Sustainability’s Community Climate Grant.”

Our Dark Skies Officer, Jack Ellerby, said: “Sedbergh Council have been a delight to work with. With public finances decreasing and electricity energy prices going up councils are looking at these types of lights to reduce resource consumption.  Although there is no legal public duty to provide lighting, well placed lights help to give us a sense of safety on paths and ginnels after dark.  We hope it inspires other communities to act, and that other lights installed in the town are equally sympathetic.”

The new Dark Sky Certified lights were supplied by lighting manufacturers Thorn Lighting UK and Urbis Schreder. 

As well as new replacement lights, existing full cut-off LED lights had 5:5 photo cells fitted so they come on a little later and go off a bit sooner, known as ‘trimming’.  This also adds to electricity cost savings.

Read more about our Dark Skies project.