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Cumbria’s Dark Skies Festival 2020
3 days of Dark Skies Events taking place in Cumbria this February

Dark Skies Festival - Steve Messam Art Display
Photo: Steve Messam & Forestry England

An exciting and packed programme of events has been revealed ahead of Cumbria’s very first Dark Skies Festival, set to take place over the weekend of 21-23 February 2020.

The three-day programme includes sensory twilight strolls, moonlight bike rides, art installations and even a chance to get up-close and personal with rocks from space during fascinating sessions from inside one of the festival’s highlights: A pop-up ‘Dark Sky Planetarium and Meteorite Workshop’, suitable for the whole family.

Further highlights including learning top-tips on astro-photography with the winner of the 2019 ‘Astronomy Photographer of the Year’ competition’s ‘People and Space’ category, Ben Bush. Plus there will be illuminated orbs floating on Grizedale Tarn, designed to interact with the stars and celebrate the forest as a beautiful place to experience dark skies.

The Cumbria-wide festival – which will be held at various locations across the county - has been organised by Cumbria Tourism in partnership with Forestry England, Friends of the Lake District and the Lake District National Park Authority, providing a great opportunity for people of all ages to fall in love with some of the darkest skies in the UK.

A full list of the events taking place can be viewed here.

Coppermines Cottages - Coniston
Photo: Coppermines Cottages, Coniston

With more than 1,000 stars visible on a clear night complimented by part of our own galaxy, The Milky Way, which majestically stretches across the night sky, The Lake District, Cumbria easily outshines the city lights for a memorable getaway – making it the perfect destination for an unforgettable night of stargazing.

Mark Holroyd from Forestry England, says, “We’re thrilled to be holding events as part of Cumbria’s Dark Skies Festival at both Grizedale and Whinlatter Forests. From night-time bike rides, to walks and exhibitions, we’re very excited to be able to offer such an extensive range of activities to people who are fascinated with the skies above us. We hope this will build on the growing popularity of stargazing activities which can already be enjoyed at both of these beautiful forests.”

Andrew Tait, Dark Skies Project Manager at Friends of the Lake District, says, “We’re passionate about celebrating and safeguarding Cumbria’s amazing dark skies and we hope that the public have a great time and enjoy this large variety of the amazing events that we’ve all worked so hard on to pull together. There really is something for everyone during the weekend, no matter their age or knowledge of the night sky. We can’t wait to share these experiences across what promises to be a fascinating long weekend.”

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