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  1. ITV Report

Exmoor named the 'darkest' National Park in southern England

Exmoor National Park became an International Dark Sky Reserve in 2011, the first in Europe. Photo: ITV News

Now have you ever seen the Milky Way? It's likely that artificial light will prevent you from doing so - unless you're somewhere like Exmoor.

Detailed satellite maps have revealed it as the darkest National Park in Southern England with 92% dark skies.

Exmoor National Park hopes to improve on this by dealing with light spillage from towns like Minehead and Porlock.

This research comes as at time of increasing awareness of the harmful effects light pollution can have on the health of people and wildlife and important benefits of dark skies. Credit: ITV News
92%
dark skies

Dark skies have been a source of fascination for centuries, yet many children will grow up never seeing the Milky Way because of the impact of artificial light.

The core area of Exmoor National Park covers some 83 square kilometres of mostly moorland, surrounded by a bigger zone of 98 square kilometres, mainly farmed landscape and small settlements.

Dark skies are a key characteristic of what makes the countryside so different from urban areas and they offer a sense of awe and wonder to local people and to visitors who are lucky enough to experience them.

– Chris Lewis, Chair of CPRE Somerset
The National Park Authority has for some years had a strong lighting policy to ensure that no light pollution affects the Dark Sky Reserve designation. Credit: ITV News