Stargazers’ dark sky bid gains ground

Forestry Commission Chair Pam Warhurst at Kielder Observatory with the director of the facility, Gary Fildes.

Forestry Commission Chair Pam Warhurst at Kielder Observatory with the director of the facility, Gary Fildes.

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The head of the Forestry Commision, Pam Warhurst, has backed a bid to create one of the world’s biggest ‘dark sky’ space observation areas in north Northumberland.

Kielder Water and Forest Park, which already has its own state-of-the-art observatory, would be kept permanently free of light pollution under the plan, which has been submitted to the US-based International Dark Sky Association.

Kielder is already one of the UK’s best stargazing areas, with thousands of stars easily visible on a clear night – whereas in most towns and cities just a few can be glimpsed.

Ms Warhurst said the bid would secure a ‘truly exciting’ future for astronomy in the area.

“The observatory is an inspiring place and a tremendous asset to the North East and Borders,” she said.