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!

“Bat detectors are awesome.” …so says Faith, one of the Kendal Kingfishers Wildlife Watch Club members.

Cumbria Wildlife Trust (CWT) Wildlife Watch leaders took the minibeast detectives along the River Kent at Gooseholme in Kendal on 1 October to track down bats feeding themselves up before their winter hibernation.

What did the youngsters learn?

  • Each species has a unique call, usually at different frequencies. We used the bat detectors to identify the different species by listening to the peak frequency of its call.
  • Bats usually have only one baby a year, and the babies are called ‘pups’.
  • Bats go into a deep sleep (hibernation) over the winter as there are no flying insects around for them to feed on.

Jodie, Mum of Rose and Faith who took part said: “We couldn’t believe how many bats we saw, including the Common and Soprano Pipistrelles and the larger Daubenton hunting over the river (see Seb Sillito’s video clip). It’s so easy to miss them when you’re not looking out for them over the water. It really opened our eyes and made the evening so magical for us.”

Video: Minibeast detectives along the River Kent

The Cumbria Dark Skies Project is working with lots of supportive partner organisations, including CWT, not only to highlight the importance of dark skies for the health of wildlife species, biodiversity and humans, but also to try to reduce light pollution.

Kendal and Oxenholme will be one of the first communities taking part in the pilot lighting audit and reduction plans starting off in the New Year. A key focus will be light pollution along the riverside which forms a vital habitat for many species, such as bats, which research shows can be badly affected by poor artificial lighting.(1)(2)

We want Faith, Rose and other children to also have the opportunity to experience and enjoy Kendal’s dark skies and all the wonderful wildlife that thrives in that natural environment. The future’s in our hands, together we can make difference, think big and act fast… 

(1). https://www.friendsofthelakedistrict.org.uk/news/light-pollution-and-bats

(2). Many organisations are supporting the Project, including the Kendal based Eddington Astronomical Society, Kendal Civic Society, the Kendal Swifts Group, Kendal Town Council, the South Cumbria Bat Group and South Lakeland Action on Climate Change.