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Swift

Dark Sky sites in Kent

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Hiya folks,

I've been fairly quiet on the forum since moving to light-polluted Maidstone. However, after recently taking a driving course and buying a first car, I'm keen to get on the road with my scope and do some observing. Quite a few of my students are keen to come along, but I'm not sure about the best places to go just yet. I could drive around at night for ages looking for a decent spot, but I just wondered whether anyone here knows any good dark places less than 45 minutes' drive from Maidstone? I'd mainly be going for DSOs with a big Dob, visual only, so any pointers on favourite dark-sky spots from local astronomers in the know would be much appreciated!

Thanks in advance, hope everyone's Christmas preparations are going smoothly,

Swift

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I'm in Maidstone, too, but I tend to observe from the back garden. The light pollution is pretty bad, though. Looking at the light pollution maps, Romny Marsh should be pretty good. I'm not sure, though, where you might be able to set up the scope, so if you find a good spot, I'd love to hear about it. Happy hunting and clear skies.

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fill up and drive to the brecon or mid wales...you will not regret it.

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Right next to you is Kent Downs AONB with almost nothing within it that could be called a large town. So just about anywhere in that with suitable parking should be good. Lenham, Challock and the small roads towards Wormshill should be almost dangerously dark.

Search out a location to park during the daylight hours and try.

Have a look along the A429 Detling-Stockbury for a location closer to Maidstone.

Bit further Isle of Sheppy, Elmley National Nature Res. These places often have car parks for visitors.

Similar you have the High Welds AONB a bit further away sort of South and West a bit.

There looks as if getting a dark location should not be a problem.

Edited by ronin

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Down on the Marsh will be the darkest , too much Light pollution around Maidstone / Medway towns , even the glow from Ashford interferes. You might find a dark location but will struggle to find a dark sky. Saying that we have camped around Biddenden and it wasn't too bad.

Trouble also compounded by the con trails with the amount of flights overhead. I used to live near Canterbury and it's not until you get away from those skies overhead you realise how much they filter out.

Now down in darkest Devon without the amount of flights and there is a marked difference.

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Kingsdown beach, layby half way along Undercliffe Road. Then out onto the shingle. Pitch black with a clear view to the horizon to the south along the Channel,

Nick.

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Kingsdown beach, layby half way along Undercliffe Road. Then out onto the shingle. Pitch black with a clear view to the horizon to the south along the Channel,

Nick.

Agreed, get down on the coast on a clear, moonless night Swift.

Summer weekend camping trips with a big Dob, great fun. Join a club down there that'll have good sites and good skies.

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Thanks folks. I've played gigs over in Brecon but have never been able to take the 'scope with me. Next year! I was lucky enough to grow up on the Shetland Islands and it's hard to find something that compares to that sky (especially with the odd Aurora popping up) but the Dob used to do well looking out across the Channel when I was on the South Coast, so maybe the answer is to head towards the sea again.

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