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Dark Skies near Gloucester Somerset?

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Well looks like things are all set - job sorted and will be moving to Somerset mid-Sept. Probably rent for a while and get to know the place a bit better. Heading off there again this weekend for anot

You're welcome, the famous SGL star parties are held just between Hereford and Ross on Wye, so is a good sign of what the skies can be like around here.  West of Hereford it gets better and better.  A

Much as though it is a hanging offence on a site like this but I would not consider a dark location as being in the priority list. You will travel to and from work twice a day, you might go observing

Somerset would probably be the darkest area out of the places you mentioned, with places like the Somerset flats that are quite dark. The only problem is the fact that you will need to live on a house boat :)

Yep, I've been looking at the flood map as well as the dark sky map! Thanks for the reminder.

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Coffee1 is a fab coffee chain...come and check it out before having scones at Thornbury castle followed by a look at a hickson group through my 16 inch dob. Mark

All sounds very pleasant! I had to google Coffee 1 to figure it out - I havent seen them down this way.

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.. just had a 3 day lightning tour of Gloucester area followed by Taunton and surrounds, via Newbury and Birmingham. Bit of a blur!

Really liked the areas, wasnt able to check out the skies much though. We stayed in Tetbury, and I decided to walk to the edge of the town after dinner to avoid the street lights and check out the sky. But the street lights extend way to the east and to the north - surprising for such a small place I thought. Looked generally OK overhead but bit bright on the horizon. Unfortunately on the second night it clouded over.

One thing I realised in thinking this through, is that the view to the south is the most important, because anything low to North horizon will be visible better at a different time of year. Does that sound sensible?

From the logistics point of view, we would like to be in a village with at least a shop and pub. There was quite a few in the Tetbury area, but there seems to be relatively few of them north west of Taunton. Wivi and Bishops Lydeard seemd to be the exceptions. Anyhow, we're down that way again in 2 weeks and hopefully can check it out a bit better.

Can anyone recommend an estate agent who might know the area well and could advise? Any thoughts James?

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There are a couple of estate agents in Wivey, Wilkie, May & Tuckwood, and Webbers.  I have the impression they're reasonably well thought of as estate agents go, particularly the former, perhaps because they're in a relatively small community.  Generally I'd avoid Stags, Jackson-Stops and perhaps Humberts, who seem to like to market properties in London and price accordingly.  It's probably worth hitting the estate agents in Wellington too, as they'll cover much of the surrounding area.  I believe there's a property section in the Somerset County Gazette that might be worth a look through.  You might need to make sure you get the edition for west Somerset.  They used to do a couple of different editions though I don't know if they still do.

Pubs do tend to be rather dotted around in this area.  Partly I think because of the prevailing religious persuasion years back and their strong line on temperance.  Not everywhere you'd expect to have a pub actually has one.  Certainly the group around here didn't seem to go in for much in the way of amusement.  One of the reasons the local village's cricket pitch is next door to us is because many many years ago none of the farmers in the village would allow the cricket club to play on their land on a Sunday.  I could name a dozen or more that are pleasant places to go within a ten mile drive, but there are none within a gentle stagger of our home (unless the cricket club is open, and having been here almost ten years we're barely local enough for that yet :)

I'd agree with your point regarding skies to the south.  If you have a nice clear view that way, you can pretty much wait for anything to be in a suitable observing position.

Please do ask if there's something I might be able to help with or anything you want to know.

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Thanks for all your help - very useful.

Re estate agents - of course most property is probably viewable online, but the agents will have some inside knowledge and hopefully be able to point us the right way.

I've made a note to avoid the extortionate and inflated prices of Stags and Jackson Stopps - apart from when it comes to selling ours of course!

Thanks again

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I was at Exmoor for four days and even hired a 6" dobsonian from the national park. The skies were dark but they were more often than not cloudy too but that's just my personal experience. There would be clear skies during the day which would have me excited and by the time night came it was all tears and an untouched scope

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I can drive 10 - 15 mins South out of Bristol and be in a place where the Milky Way is visible (just). The Dundry hills block a lot of LP from the city and there's not a lot else out that way to spoil the views.

Don't get me wrong, it's not perfect but a significant improvement considering the short distance travelled out of town.

Of course you could carry on further into the countryside, but for me it's ideal.

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Well looks like things are all set - job sorted and will be moving to Somerset mid-Sept. Probably rent for a while and get to know the place a bit better.

Heading off there again this weekend for another recce - weather looks a bit iffy though, so wont be taking the scope. Looking at a couple of places to rent so fingers crossed.

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