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Dark Sky Reserve Success for National Parks - Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

The Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks have been designated International Dark Sky Reserves, joining an exclusive global family of Dark Sky Places.

Vibrant Milky Way over Norber Ridge by Matt Gibson YDNP
Vibrant Milky Way over Norber Ridge by Matt Gibson YDNP

The Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors are home to some of the darkest skies in the country, with large areas of unpolluted night sky where it’s possible to see thousands of stars, the Milky Way, meteors and even the Northern Lights.

As part of a coordinated approach by the two National Parks, the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), has granted Reserve status to both areas, which combined cover over 3500 km2 of northern England. This is by far the biggest such announcement in the UK and represents one of the largest areas in Europe to be simultaneously designated.

Both National Parks have worked hard over several years to achieve this award, gaining support from councils, parishes, landowners, businesses and renowned astronomical experts.

Jim Bailey, Chairman of the North York Moors National Park Authority said: “’It’s a wonderful thing to see a meteorite streak across the night sky, or to look up and appreciate the brilliance of the Milky Way. As a child I took these sights for granted, but now it’s absolutely something we need to protect for generations to come. This designation as an International Dark Sky Reserve is the culmination of immense dedication and teamwork, and it will continue as we encourage more people to think carefully about our night time environment. From helping nocturnal wildlife to providing a boost for off-season tourism, the North York Moors looks set to have a better, darker future.”

Neil Heseltine, Chair of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority said: “Those lucky enough to live in the Yorkshire Dales National Park know what it is to experience the wonder of some of the darkest skies in the country, and it’s thrilling that the Dales has received recognition for one of its most special qualities. Designation provides a fantastic opportunity to encourage tourism in the autumn and winter months, and to work with local authorities, businesses and communities to ensure our dark skies are protected.”

Posted on: 08 December 2020

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