'Dark Sky' status for Beacons

The Brecon Beacons National Park has become the fifth location in the world - and the first in Wales - to be granted International Dark Sky Reserve status, which protects the quality of star-gazing in the area.

Brecon Beacons wins bid to protect its skies

Brecon Beacons National Park has been granted 'Dark Sky Reserve' status, which grants it special protection for stargazing in the area.

In order to achieve the special status, local astronomers conducted a survey assessing levels of light pollution in the area, and sent information to residents living in the area to help them understand simple ways they could reduce light pollution.

Local communities supported the bid, with residents in Talybont-on-Usk holding their own Star Party and organising a community light switch off.

There are only four other areas in the world that hold 'Dark Sky Reserve' status:

  • Mont Megantic – Quebec, Canada
  • Exmoor National Park – Devon and Somerset Counties, England
  • Aoraki Mackenzie – New Zealand
  • NambiRand Nature Reserve – Namibia

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Brecon Beacons in 2011, as they were preparing their International Dark Sky Reserve application. I was impressed by their dedication to preserving the night sky in this wonderful natural setting. It is a wonderful addition to the International Dark Sky Reserve programme.

– Bob Parks, The International Dark-Sky Association’s Executive Director

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Brecon Beacons given 'Dark Sky Reserve' status

Minimising light pollution is crucial to ensure clear views of the stars Credit: Michael Sinclair

The Brecon Beacons National Park has become the fifth location in the world - and the first in Wales - to be granted International Dark Sky Reserve status, which protects the quality of star-gazing in the area.

It follows an application from the Brecon Beacons Park Society and the National Park Authority

The status officially recognises the nocturnal environment in the area - with low levels of light pollution.

Information leaflets and letters were distributed to residents living in the area to help them understand the measures they could take to keep the skies dark, such as tilting outdoor security lights downwards instead of up.

The area joins four other certified Dark Sky Reserves throughout the world - Mont Mégantic, Quebec, Canada; the Exmoor National Park in south-west England; Aoraki Mackenzie, New Zealand and the NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia.