Dark Skies Cumbria

Light up February with a spectacular array of online events celebrating the wonders of our night sky

Live events over 17 evenings in February give you the opportunity to explore our dark skies with astronomers, astrophotographers, authors, filmmakers, lighting and design professionals, performers, poets and outdoor adventurers.

Book Now for individual event information and booking options. We've also produced this handy little leaflet which you can download as a reminder of what's in a line-up which we think is out of this world!

(View / Download Festival Line-Up - pdf)


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.

     

Or you can give by text to 70085. Just message DARKSKIES along with your chosen donation amount (eg DARKSKIES 5 to donate £5). Standard message rates apply.

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!

We spoke with a parish council about dark skies this month. Listening well to conversations and stories can reveal much richer meaning and common values than ‘policy words’! 

The Parish Council is having to take on responsibility for the road lighting in their parish owned by the District Council. Budget cutting means local authorities are transferring responsibility and costs down to town and parish councils. They also had to review the lights as some were on electricity poles, and Electricity North West because of health and safety concerns, does not want any other equipment sharing its poles. 

There were 21 road lights and they looked at each in turn and agreed which ones weren’t needed and would be taken down, or the bulbs not replaced when they broke. Only 11 would remain after 1 April 2022. The lights had built up over the last 40-50 years, some for the quarry lorries when the quarry was working, others from individual ad-hoc requests. 

When the parish council spoke with residents living next to lights, when dark skies were mentioned they were happy for lights not to be kept on. The lights they kept were for school children waiting at the bus stop and for security in the village car park (5 of the 11 lights here). Now that they know more about dark skies (the lights were reviewed before Johanna’s talk to the WI), the parish council regrets that the lights can’t be time limited to only when the light is needed and not on all night. They are open to looking at this with the Dark Skies Project community lighting reduction pilot work we are planning. 

80-90% of the light pollution stems most likely from businesses, especially some of the larger hotels. The parish councillor made a very pertinent point: ‘Visitors wouldn’t decide not to come to stay at a hotel because it didn’t have enough lights, but many visitors would be attracted by being able to see fantastic views of starry skies.’