Northumberland area awarded Dark Sky Park status

Stars in the Milky Way pictured in clear skies at the Kielder observatory. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Stargazers could soon be flocking to a remote corner of England that will today get official recognition for the quality of its night sky.

A 580 square-mile area of Northumberland countryside is to be given protected Dark Sky Park status by the US-based International Dark Skies Association (IDA).

The new zone - which will be called the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park - is the first of its kind in England and one of the largest in the world.

The IDA's Steve Owens said:

The area covers Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water & Forest Park, between Hadrian's Wall and the Scottish border.

The protected status means the spread of light pollution will be halted, as people are encouraged to fit more sophisticated outdoor lighting to homes.

The area's gold tier designation is the highest accolade that the IDA can bestow. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

TV impressionist Jon Culshaw, an amateur astronomer, said:

Read more on the Northumberland Dark Sky Park on ITV Tyne Tees