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Dark site caravaning and camping


lguise
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Not sure if there has been a thread on this before, if so please direct me to it.

For many years my wife and I have spent a few weeks each summer in South Devon on what used to be a small unspoilt campsite. What a pleasure to step out of the caravan awning and see the full Milky Way! We take a Dob with us (currently an OO 14”) and get some great observing, the sky is certainly darker than Kelling….or at least it was! Sadly a new generation have now taken over running the site and it is being ‘developed’, specifically this includes lighting ‘to make people feel safe’. I know, don’t get me started, I’ve tried my best. 
Anyway events have set me thinking it might be time for a change of scenery, so I was wondering if any SGL members have any favourite sites that are in reasonably dark locations where the owners then don’t flood the field with light all night!

I’m not expecting star party conditions, we are quite realistic that others will have lights on when they are up and about, but often at this time of year we don’t even start observing until midnight, most have gone to bed by then.

So any suggestions welcome, dark quiet location, electric hookup, reasonable horizons, friendly owners, good walking and countryside or coast nearby, I’m sure you get the idea. Website links would be very useful.

Many thanks in anticipation.

Linton

 

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Which areas are you looking in.  We have a campsite we go to in East Sussex, Bortle 4, good horizons, and you'd be with like minded people.  However we are not attempting to go until about September this year as with every-one doing UK holidays this year it's only a small site and the chances of getting booked are pretty non existent.

Carole 

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The Camping and Caravanning club have an extensive list of  'Certificated Locations,' simple camping spots with a limited number of  users and few or no amenities. Many of these are likely to meet your needs.

https://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/ukcampsites/smallsites/

When I lived in the UK I envisaged using them widely for quiet breaks with or without astronomy but we hit a problem in that our fairly large coachbuilt motor home would invariably get stuck on damp ground and, at that time, few CLs had hardstandings.  These breaks were an autumn-winter thing for us and, around Derbyshire, the ground was usually too wet. A car-caravan combination is less prone to sinking into the goop!

Olly

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One thing to remember is that in the Summer months, the further north you go, the shorter the astronomical darkness (and for much of the UK you get; none at all between June and July) so Cornwall will be better than Kielder.

If you can travel later in the year, there's a stunning campsite on the top end of Loch Morlich, below Cairngorm summit. The campsite has low level illumination, but you can walk through some woods onto the beach by the loch and it's as dark as I've seen in UK, 

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24 minutes ago, Gfamily said:

One thing to remember is that in the Summer months, the further north you go, the shorter the astronomical darkness (and for much of the UK you get; none at all between June and July) so Cornwall will be better than Kielder.

If you can travel later in the year, there's a stunning campsite on the top end of Loch Morlich, below Cairngorm summit. The campsite has low level illumination, but you can walk through some woods onto the beach by the loch and it's as dark as I've seen in UK, 

True about the the latitude. Late September onward is best at Kielder even if to just avoid the midges. Although if you're in a camper they shouldn't be so bothersome.

Shallow Grange Farm is a pleasant site in the Peak District. A group of us SGLers went there last year right before lock down. Apparently for a number of years the site was also used for the Peaks Star Party.

We have an October booking at Wayside in the Shropshire Hills. It's a bit bigger than I'd normally camp at but being October the missus was convinced by an electric hook up tent pitch. I will of course post about the experience here.

Edited by ScouseSpaceCadet
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There’s a few campsites on the Llyn peninsular, North Wales. Bortle2 skies. I’ve never been there but I’ve every intention of visiting hopefully for a night or two this August/ September  for some coastal Milky Way nightscapes. Coastal walks on your door step with Snowdonia National Park close by. 

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Thanks all for some great suggestions coming in. I’m planning ahead for 2022 and beyond, committed to Devon for this year. We book a seasonal pitch and then go up and down as the weather dictates. We’re lucky enough to be in the semi retired bracket so can be free from May to mid September. Thinking of changing tack in 2022 and booking a couple of different venues to see a bit more of the stunning areas that GB has to offer. Don’t really know Wales or the Peak District at all, and Suffolk and Sussex are close enough for short breaks, so had better get on with exploring!

Will be up at the top of the Red field at Kelling in October with Daz & Mrs Daz, fingers crossed.

Linton

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On 13/07/2021 at 09:38, icpn said:

Haw Wood campsite in Suffolk

thanks! just looked it up and booked in for tomorrow and friday night!

I see they have a week of astronomy/imaging in November too - I'll probably sign up for that when I'm there !

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I did a search for dark sky campsites and this one came up which is not that far from us:

https://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/campsites/uk/west-sussex/petworth/graffham-camping-and-caravanning-club-site/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_content=Graffham&utm_campaign=google_places

 

so we've booked it for 3 nights next week in the motorhome.

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18 hours ago, powerlord said:

thanks! just looked it up and booked in for tomorrow and friday night!

I see they have a week of astronomy/imaging in November too - I'll probably sign up for that when I'm there !

That astro week looks interesting, I'll give them a call later. As an absolute beginner my knowledge level is a bit basic to say the least so I can look forward to learning more. 

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A campsite I use a lot is Kelynack near St just in Cornwall.  Bortle 2. Even my daughter remarked on how black the sky is there.  I have glimpsed the North American nebula and The Dumbell Nebula from there before with my eyes alone, so dark are the skies.

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Forgot to post - lovely campsite - busy, but I still had a massive pitch and a clear view to the east where I was imaging. Dog friendly, all families - no rowdy parties. cafe and shop. I usually hate campsites - I'm a wild camper - usually preferring to jsut park up somewhere and be self sufficient when I got up to scotland where I usually go - but down here its near impossible to do. I will most definately be going back.

And I need to sign up for a weekend during that November astro week too - looks like a great idea.

In the end I didn't get much pics - the first night was very cloudy. The second night was crystal clear.. however it had been roasting during the day, and I may have consumed slightly more alcohol than was wise... so faced with teh prospect of getting up at 11pm.. I stayed in my bed 😛

stu

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Good to hear you like Haw Wood, I`ve been going every spring and autumn since 2014. I have had some fantastic dark sky observing here, cant wait to get back there for the November week. If the weather behaves I might do a last minute trip there for the September or October new moon as well.

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On 13/07/2021 at 13:16, Andy R said:

There’s a few campsites on the Llyn peninsular, North Wales. Bortle2 skies. I’ve never been there but I’ve every intention of visiting hopefully for a night or two this August/ September  for some coastal Milky Way nightscapes. Coastal walks on your door step with Snowdonia National Park close by. 

been lots of times. the veil unfiltered is ace from there

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We finished up at CCC site at Graffham in Sussex, bortle 4 which was promising to me but in the event the trees were so tall the sky was only clear directly above. Lovely site though, very natural and not a boring flat field.

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On 22/07/2021 at 23:26, faulksy said:

been lots of times. the veil unfiltered is ace from there

Could you recommend any quiet locations?

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On 25/07/2021 at 15:16, Andy R said:

Could you recommend any quiet locations?

Almost all on the llyn peninsula 

The last 2 times was whistling sands

At the moment I'm at a very dark camp site in mid Wales. The lady who owns it loves stargazing. She said they open for out of season events.

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2 hours ago, faulksy said:

Almost all on the llyn peninsula 

The last 2 times was whistling sands

At the moment I'm at a very dark camp site in mid Wales. The lady who owns it loves stargazing. She said they open for out of season events.

That would be good Mike is there EHU?

 

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