Dark skies boost tourism

Kielder Observatory
Kielder Observatory at night Photo: Martin Whipp

Parts of Northumberland are set to be designated the third largest area of protected dark sky in the world. Kielder Water and Forest Park and Northumberland National Park have combined to bid for Dark Sky status.

There are 12 Dark Sky Reserves in the world, the largest in Big Bend National Park in Texas and the second largest in Mount Megantic in Quebec.

If successful Kielder would become England's first Dark Sky Park. Galloway Forest Park in Dumfries and Galloway was the first in the UK. Visitor numbers in Galloway increased after the designation and Kielder hopes the same would happen there.

30,000 people have visited Kielder Observatory since it opened in 2008.

Dark sky status would allow us to protect, cherish and promote our natural nightscapes

– Elisabeth Rowark, Kielder Water and Development Trust