Thousands took part in Cumbria’s Dark Skies Festival

Thousands took part in Cumbria's Dark Skies Festival


CUMBRIA’S Dark Skies Festival welcomed more than 1500 people for their two weeks event. 

The festival gave residents and visitors 30 events celebrating the night-time environment. 

The events included stargazing and astrophotography, night trail running, canoeing, swimming, wildlife walks and forest bathing.

Events were led by knowledgeable astronomers from the north of England, and Cumbria-based activity companies.

Local businesses hosted dark sky themed events, including ‘The Inn on the Lake’ and ‘Another Place’ in Ullswater and ‘Near Howe Self-catering Cottages’ near Mungrisedale, supporting the visitor economy during its quieter period.

Sally Burchall, who is the Visitor Experience Manager with Forestry England, said: “We focussed our events at Grizedale and Whinlatter Forests, with local businesses helping to provide a wide range of inspiring activities alongside our own passionate staff.

“The diverse programme attracted a range of different audiences, from trail runners, families walking through the woods, to telescope stargazing for Calvert Trust guests with disabilities, with the help of the Cockermouth Astronomical Society.

“Cumbria provides a fantastic base for stargazing and night-time events in our forests, an offer we’re looking to expand with all of our business partners.”

The Dark Skies Officer for Cumbria, Jack Ellerby, of Friends of the Lake District, said: “Most events were planned for variable weather!

“I joined one on a rainy evening in woodland above Ambleside, led by Mindfulness guide Ruth from ‘At Nature’s Pace’.

“I’d had quite a stressful day, but after an hour or so in the dark I was completely chilled and felt very connected.

“You just can’t put a price on the physical and emotional restorative benefit of being in the outdoors after dark.”

The Dark Skies Festival started off the winter season, so do look out for lots more Dark Skies events over the coming months here.