1. ITV Report

All eyes to the skies - Elan Valley estate gets Dark Sky Park status

The Aurora Borealis over the Elan Valley Reservoir Photo: Janice Vincett

An estate in the Cambrian Mountains is the first privately owned, publicly accessible park to be given International Dark Sky Park status.

Dwr Cymru Welsh Water's Elan Valley Estate in the Cambrian Mountains is now protected against light pollution after a two-year campaign spearheaded by estate rangers and two local amateur astronomers.

More than 200 light readings were taken at 13 sites over a 22-month period to show the International Dark Sky Association that the estate fits the criteria.

To get the Dark Sky Park status, the estate had to show it had "an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage, and/or public enjoyment."

This global recognition is testament to the hard work of our rangers and voluntary astronomers, without whom this would not have been possible. I would also like to thank the Elan Valley Trust for their support from the beginning of this process. We will continue to work in partnership with them and local residents to protect and enhance this feature of the estate and welcome visitors to experience a truly dark sky at night.

– Ed Parsons, Dwr Cymru

Elan Valley now joins the ranks of the world's 25 other Dark Sky Parks, alongside Galloway Forest Park in Scotland, Death Valley National Park in California, De Boschplaat in the Netherlands and Eifel Internation Dark Sky Park in Germany.

The estate is now working to improve facilities for astronomers across its land.

Craig Goch on the Elan Valley estate. Credit: Ian Collins