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!

Many people think lighting will make their neighbourhood or village safer, but is this the case? 

There is a growing body of evidence that shows that lighting, far from being an aid to crime reduction, is at best irrelevant and in some places (especially in rural areas) counter-productive. For example, part night lighting trials in Essex have revealed crime rates falling, sometimes by as much as 18%, during that portion of the night when the lights are switched off. 

A 2015 study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, showed streetlights don’t prevent accidents or crime but do cost a lot of money. The researchers examined data on road traffic collisions and crime in 62 local authorities in England and Wales. They found that lighting had no effect, whether authorities had turned them off completely, dimmed them, turned them off at certain hours, or substituted low-power LED lights. See: https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/newsevents/news/2015/reduced_street_lighting_does_not_increase_crime.html 

A report just out by LED Panel Store – Lit up Britain: Where have our stars gone? (March 2020) states that: Contrary to popular belief, there is no clear scientific evidence that increased outdoor lighting provides a crime deterrent…. In fact, most property crime like burglaries takes place during the day, and crimes like vandalism and graffiti are actually assisted by the placement of street lamps and the lights of buildings.

See: https://www.ledpanelstore.co.uk/blog/lit-up-britain/ 

To save our dark skies, the default position to put up lighting in public places should really now be questioned, give that: 

“There is no statutory duty for local authorities in the UK to provide public lighting, and you're unlikely to be able to claim as a result of this service reduction.” (Shropshire County Council website information on night-time street lighting switch offs).