Dark Skies

At nearly 580 square miles, our dark sky zone, known as Northumberland and Kielder Water and Forest International Dark Sky Park, is the second largest area of protected night sky in Europe, and achieved this status thanks to the International Dark Skies Association, the leading international organisation working to combat light pollution worldwide. Becoming a Dark Sky Park means that our night skies will be kept free from light pollution and we can create more opportunities for people to be inspired by the stars. If you'd like to get involved in conserving our dark skies click here.

It is estimated that 85% of the UK population has never seen a truly dark sky or experienced the sense of wonder that a clear night filled with billions of stars can give! Here at Kielder, the skies can be so dark that the Milky Way and even the planet Jupiter can cast shadows, a phenomenon many have never seen. The CPRE ranks Kielder as the best place to see the stars in the UK.

The IDA, based in Tucson, USA,  in December 2013, granted Gold Tier Dark Sky Park status to the combined areas of Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water & Forest Park

The new zone - now known as the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park (NIDSP) - is the first of its kind in England and one of the largest in the world, joining the likes of Death Valley and Big Bend Dark Sky Parks in the USA. Gold tier designation is the highest accolade that the IDA can bestow.

Working with councils, residents, businesses and tourism agencies, the two year campaign to achieve the prestigious status was spearheaded by Northumberland National Park Authority, Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust and our team at the Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society.

We look forward to seeing you soon under some of the darkest skies in the world, for the adventure of a lifetime

To see a map of the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park boundary, please click Here




2023 sees us celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park. Officially awarded on 9th December 2013, we are delighted to still be playing a significant part in celebrating and protecting our dark skies in the area. Along with many key members of the NIDSP Steering Group, we look forward to welcoming visitors, hosting events and exhibitions and continuing to promote the benefits and importance of our dark skies throughout this anniversary year. To find out more, please visit:  Dark Skies 10 • Northumberland National Park