Wishing on a star

An important part of any trip, break, or holiday is the range of activities that go on through the day. Having enough to occupy everyone is very important. Equally as important is what is on offer to explore and see of an evening and night-time. Evenings can become very long and pointless if there is nothing to do. In Exmoor this isn’t a problem as there are many evening activities to keep everyone entertained including stargazing which is what we will look at in this particular posting.

There is nothing more exciting, relaxing and special than seeing the sky at night and in Exmoor National Park you can ‘officially’ do this as the site has been made an International Dark Sky Reserve. The thing that makes this so extraordinary is the site has been declared the first one in the whole of Europe!

For many the fascination of the sky comes from childhood and fantasy tales we are told. Many of us don’t lose this fascination as adults. Lots about life (or its history) are related to the stars, the sky and the planets, such as discovery of the universe and religion for example. Therefore it is no surprise that so many people have at least a passing interest.

Trouble is, if like many you live in a city or vastly populated area, the brightness of the night sky is replaced by the brightness of street lamps, colourful billboards and anything else we are used to seeing in the city.

Whilst we like to see where we are going in Exmoor of a night, there are special spots which are seemingly untouched by artificial light and so provide the perfect spot for a bit of stargazing.

Viewing Exmoor's night sky









Above: Stargazing in Exmoor – a perfect contrast.

From: https://www.flickr.com/photos/120475285@N06/15211927656/

Some of the best places to experience this activity in this area are Wimbleball Lake, County Gate and Holdstone Hill – to name but a few. You may even be lucky enough to find your own viewing spot and area making the event truly memorable.

If you are interested in this activity and would like to find out more, a very good resource we can point you in the direct of is the Exmoor National Park’s Dark Sky Places annual report (see here: http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/638500/IDSA-Dark-Sky-Places-Annual-Report-October-2014-2015.pdf) which provides lots of useful information and facts. It includes details of astronomical events which may be coming up and future plans / ideas for this project.

Why not come to Exmoor and give this a go? You will be surprised at how relaxing it is to be out in the fresh air with just you and the sky.

What makes the setting of Highcliffe House so special? Find out at our location page.