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!

Did you know that winter is the perfect time to wrap up warm and get out and about to see a Dark Sky spectacular? Like the Three Kings... go and follow the stars!

Here at Friends of the Lake District, we’re working hard to save Cumbria’s Dark Skies through our Dark Skies Appeal and we’re keen to help more people than ever before discover just how amazing the Cumbrian skies are and ways we can limit light pollution.
The festive season is a great time to enjoy the stars, so here’s some things you might like to experience...

Cold Moon period
Here in Cumbria we have access to some amazing interstellar sights all year round – but this Christmas you’re in for an even bigger treat!

On the 11 December 2019 there will be a full or ‘Cold Moon’. The full moon that appears at this time of year is called the Cold Moon because, during December, the winter has arrived with gusto and the cold fastens its grip.

Did you know that the Cold Moon of December was sometimes also referred to as the Long Night Moon by Native American tribes because winter nights are at their longest and darkest this month?

Whilst the Cold Moon is a lovely sight to behold, it’s brightness can make stars harder to see so the best time for stargazing this month is 23-30 December.

Give a gift of starlight!
If you’re looking for unusual presents for friends and family, what better than a Dark Skies Gift for £20? It will put a smile on the face of dark sky fans and goes towards protecting Cumbria’s amazing dark skies and nocturnal wildlife from the threat of light pollution.
It is also super easy to order online. https://www.friendsofthelakedistrict.org.uk/forms/dark-skies-gift

It’s a great way to escape seasonal stress
The festive season is a fun time with lots of family parties, social events and traditions but it can also be a little overwhelming and stressful!

Escape the frantic aspects of the festive season and plan some time to see the stars and enjoy the tranquillity that comes with it.
There’s nothing better than getting back to nature and enjoying the sights and sounds while stargazing. We’d recommend wrapping up warm and taking a big flask of hot chocolate or mulled wine with you to make it even more enjoyable activity with the family.

Winter constellations
Looking North between October and December you can spot an array of constellations including Ursa Major, Hercules, Cepheus and Perseus to name a few.

If you can get out on a clear night this winter, you’ll be able to see familiar constellations in the sky – truly a wonderful sight to behold.

Keen to know more? Download our Dark Skies Discovery Pack today!

It’s easy to stargaze
You don’t need fancy equipment to look at the stars. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a telescope to enjoy our Dark Skies – there's lots of fun to be had with just your eyes!

If you have some binoculars handy that’s good to have too but it’s not essential and if you’re tech minded there’s a wealth of star gazing apps to browse if you’re keen to find out more, see:

Star Chart
Night Sky Lite
Sky View Free
Sky Map
Star and Planet Finder

So, this busy festive season, be sure to plan in some time to enjoy Cumbria’s Dark Skies. To keep up to date on our Dark Skies work, sign up to our e-newsletter.