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!

Cumbria’s Dark Skies Festival, spanning October and November, gave Cumbria residents and visitors a range of experiences at 30 events celebrating the night-time environment.

More than 1,500 people took part in a range of events including stargazing and astrophotography, night trail running, canoeing, swimming, wildlife walks and forest bathing. Events were led by knowledgeable astronomers from the north of England, and Cumbria-based activity companies.

Local businesses hosted dark sky themed events, including ‘The Inn on the Lake’ and ‘Another Place’ in Ullswater and ‘Near Howe Self-catering Cottages’ near Mungrisedale, supporting the visitor economy during its quieter period.

Sally Burchall, Visitor Experience Manager with Forestry England, said:

“We focused our events at Grizedale and Whinlatter Forests, with local businesses helping to provide a wide range of inspiring activities alongside our own passionate staff. The diverse programme attracted a range of different audiences, from trail runners, families walking through the woods, to telescope stargazing for Calvert Trust guests with disabilities, with the help of the Cockermouth Astronomical Society.

“Cumbria provides a fantastic base for stargazing and night-time events in our forests, an offer we’re looking to expand with all our business partners.”

Above: Night time canoeing on Coniston with Path to Adventure

The Dark Skies Officer for Cumbria, Jack Ellerby, of Friends of the Lake District, said:

“Most events were planned for variable weather! I joined one on a rainy evening in woodland above Ambleside, led by Mindfulness guide Ruth from ‘At Nature’s Pace’ (www.atnaturespace.co.uk).

“I’d had quite a stressful day, but after an hour or so in the dark I was completely chilled and felt very connected. You just can’t put a price on the physical and emotional restorative benefit of being in the outdoors after dark.”

The Dark Skies Festival kicked off the winter season, so do look out for lots more Dark Skies events over the coming months via:

Dark Skies Cumbria - Friends of the Lake District www.darkskiescumbria.org.uk

Dark Sky Cumbria - Visit Lake District: www.visitlakedistrict.com/explore/dark-sky-cumbria

The Cumbria Dark Skies Festival is organised and jointly marketed by Friends of the Lake District, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Cumbria Tourism, Forestry England, the National Trust and the Lake District National Park Authority.

Pictured: Moon, taken with Stellina digital telescope, by Gary Lintern