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Dark Sky Discovery status for the Forest of Bowland

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Hi all

Not sure if this is the right location for this but The Forest of Bowland, Lancashire , has just been given Dark Sky Discovery status for 4 sites  - here's the Press release .....

Bowland's Dark Skies Recognised Nationally

Imagine yourself on a frosty, winter evening wrapped in an inky darkness and sprinkled in starlight, in awe of the view as the cosmos magically reveals itself in the wondrous dark skies of Bowland….

There's no better time to explore Bowland's dark skies thanks to a national initiative that has recently given Dark Sky Discovery Site status for four sites in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Dark Sky Discovery Sites are recognised by the Dark Sky Discovery Partnership, managed by the Science and Technology Facilities Council UK Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh, as places within the UK that are both dark and easily accessible, but where it is possible to observe the spectacle of the Milky Way or the constellations, such as Orion, with the naked eye.

Hetty Byrne, Forest of Bowland Sustainable Tourism Officer said: 'We're delighted to join the Dark Sky Discovery Partnership's growing network of sites which highlight the best spots to see the night skies in the UK.  The AONB, as part of its sustainable tourism developments, put forward four sites for approval by the Dark Sky Discovery programme - Beacon Fell Country Park, Crook O'Lune Picnic Site, Gisburn Forest Hub and Slaidburn Village Car Park.  They are accessible sites, with good sightlines and relatively low light pollution, giving people the best possible conditions to just turn up and see the stars on a clear night.'

The AONB has been working with local physicist and amateur astronomer Robert Ince, who has assessed the night skies, how they are affected by light pollution and identified the best and darkest places to star gaze.  The process also involved consultation with land owners and local authorities to gain their support for the project.

During 2016 Robert is working with the AONB and will be offering a series of star gazing events and workshops through the Festival Bowland programme.  Robert explains: 'I love showing people the night skies, in the Forest of Bowland you can literally see thousands of stars; It has a real wow factor!  Everyone can enjoy stargazing with a pair of binoculars and some basic information on how to get started, including star maps. During 2016 we'll be running a series of events at Discovery site locations – during the spring when glittering star clusters and magnificent constellations like Orion grace the sky, and in the autumn when the Milky Way is overhead and meteor showers like the Perseids can put on an amazing show'. 

Get in touch if you would like to be added to our mailing list for star gazing events hetty.byrne@lancashire.gov.uk or keep an eye on updates on our website at:


Notes for Editors

Images: Beacon Fell Head Star Trails and Beacon Fell Milky Way are images taken by Robert Ince,

Gisburn Forest is an image taken by Matthew Savage

For further information please contact Hetty Byrne at the Forest of Bowland AONB office on 01200 448000 or email hetty.byrne@lancashire.gov.uk

For further information on the Dark Sky Discovery programme please visit darkskydiscovery.org.uk

The Forest of Bowland AONB www.forestofbowland.com

  • The Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is one of 46 AONBs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • The Forest of Bowland was designated as an AONB in 1964.  The AONB legislation (National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000) was designed to protect areas of unspoiled natural beauty for future generations.
  • The Forest of Bowland AONB was the first Protected Area in England to obtain the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas in September 2005.
  • 13% of the AONB is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its extensive habitats of wet and dry heathland, particularly heather moor and blanket bog.
  • A major part of the AONB’s fells is designated as a Special Protection Area under the European Birds Directive.
  • The Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) - informally the Forest of Bowland Partnership - guides the management of the AONB.  Lancashire County Council acts as the lead authority alongside County, District, Parish, land owning and farming community, environmental and recreational partners.

AONBs - Core Messages www.landscapesforlife.org.uk

·         People are passionate about Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and care deeply about their future.

·         Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are some of the most beautiful and cherished landscapes in Britain. They need to be cared for, now and in the future.

·         Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are dynamic, living landscapes that underpin the economy and the health and wellbeing of society.

·         Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are vibrant landscapes. They offer a wealth of opportunities for everyone to enjoy them and help look after them.

·         Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are designated landscapes which provide a range of benefits for people and wildlife.



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It's a stone human head, with a hole so you can look through his eye from behind, towards Blackpool tower.... It's called Orme View and is pretty cool....

There are sculptures throughout the forest so will work on getting the snake and stars.......

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Very interesting and the Slaidburn Village Car Park is worth a recceI guess it depends what they mean as low LP in this case although it is south facing, very accessible from where I am and also hard standing so should make for comfortable viewing. Other possible issue is it borders 2 small rivers so possible mist!


That said, well worth checking out. FWIW I have been to dunsop bridge twice and the skies are fantastic although it is in a valley so that takes the edge of that site for me as it restricts viewing down to as little as 40 ish degrees from the horizon in places which makes it difficult for summer viewing re: sagittarius etc.

I will let you know how I get on with the recce.


Edited by bomberbaz
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My first true dark sky experience was near slaideburn some 38 years ago. It was proper dark !

Not been there for a very long time but have been to Beacon Fell more recently. The lights of Preston and the Fylde conurbation spoil the westerly horizon to some degree but over the back towards the east is better.

It's only half an hour from home for me too☺

Sent from my SM-G903F using Tapatalk

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