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.


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!

Our ‘Dark Skies Ambassador’ training began last week with two days of training with experienced astronomers Richard Darn from Yorkshire and Rob Ince from Preston, both of whom have years of experience running astronomy events across the north of England. Twenty people attended over two days, including members of staff from the National Trust, Forestry England, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, our own engagement officer Kay, and keen amateur astronomers from all over Cumbria.

Our Dark Skies Officer Jack Ellerby did a short introduction about light pollution and the work the Dark Skies Cumbria project is doing.

Training began with an initial overview, beginning with 'what’s a constellation?', to facts about our own galaxy the Milky Way, and other interesting facts and good communication hooks for the general public: eg. Iron, which is an essential element in our bodies, is created from gases and heat in stars, released by supanova explosions. So the Joni Mitchell song lyric ‘we are stardust’ is true, we are actually, stardust!

They then covered equipment to use, including smaller and larger telescopes, and binoculars – which are really useful for looking at the moon, and near planets like Jupiter.

For the next stage participants will do some follow up sessions on Zoom, then they‘ll practice for real with an audience at a couple of ‘star party’ events at the end of November, at Forestry England’s Grizedale Forest Park, and at the National Trust’s Stickle Barn in Great Langdale.

The overall aim of the Dark Skies Ambassadors training is to upskill amateur astronomers across the county to lead events for dark skies festivals in Cumbria. Thanks to the National Trust, Forestry England, and Friends of the Lake District for funding the Dark Skies’ Ambassadors training.

For more about the trainers, see Richard Darn’s website: https://gostargazing.co.uk/ and Robert Ince’s website: https://www.stargazingevents.com/