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Dark Skies Festival 25 Sep - 10 Oct 2021

The theme for this year's festival is WILDLIFE and DARK SKIES - how different species use and need the night for different reasons, be it to migrate, find food, escape predators (or hunt prey!) and more. We also look at the impact that light pollution can have on wildlife but also explore ways in which we can preserve our dark skies and dark landscapes for the benefit of wildlife, but also for our own well-being and to retain the tranquil, rural character of the Norfolk Coast that we all love. So join in with the festival, either online or in person, and find out how you can do your bit to look after our AONB's nightscapes...

Below are a list of events taking place during the festival. Please keep visiting this site as more events and information will be added as the festival gets closer.

Please note that face-to-face events are subject to Covid-19 social distancing regulations in place at that time, so please follow instructions from the event organisers as required. If necessary, events may need to be cancelled or switched to online at the last minute. 

If you are wishing to organise a Dark Skies Festival event with us please email aonb@norfolk.gov.uk 

Illustration for Dark Skies Festival 25 Sep - 10 Oct 2021

Saturday 25th September - Norfolk Coast AONB Dark Skies Festival launch

Time: 19:00-22:00           Venue: Thornham Village Hall

Organiser: Norfolk Coast Partnership           

James Wild MP will officially launch the 2021 Norfolk Coast Dark Skies Festival which this year has a theme of nature and dark skies. Kate Dougan from the Norfolk Coast Partnership will describe the dark skies work in the AONB and John Craythorne from King's Lynn & District Astronomy Society (KLADAS) will give us tour of the skies. Following this, if weather permits, we also hope to do a spot of stargazing on the terrace. Refreshments will be provided. 

The event is free of charge, but booking is essential https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/norfolk-coast-aonb-dark-skies-festival-2021-launch-tickets-158882671347 If you would like to make a donation towards the festival on the night, you are most welcome to.

Contact: aonb@norfolk.gov.uk

 

Saturday 25th September – Horsey at Dusk

Time: 16:30-18:15           Venue: Horsey Windpump, Great Yarmouth NR29 4EF

Organiser: National Trust

Taking place outside usual opening hours, this event is aimed at young families and will include a range of self-led craft activities, firefly walks and stargazing. There will also be storytelling and on-site wildlife experts. The cafe will be available to use, and visitors will have access inside the Windpump. The event will finish with a homemade lantern parade through the firefly garden.

Booking is essential: Places are limited, please contact Horsey Windpump | National Trust for more information & to book, email: horseywindpump@nationaltrust.org.uk  Phone: 01263 740241

 

Saturday 25th September – Horsey at Dusk

Time: 18:30-20:30           Venue: Horsey Windpump, Great Yarmouth NR29 4EF

Organiser: National Trust

Taking place after usual opening hours, this event is aimed at over 18s and will include a grim and spooky after dark tour of Horsey Windpump.  Entertainment will be in the firefly garden; our cafe will be open and stargazing areas will be set aside for a largely self-led visit.

Booking is essential: Places are limited, please contact Horsey Windpump | National Trust for more information & to book, email: horseywindpump@nationaltrust.org.uk  Phone: 01263 740241

 

 

Saturday 25th September – Into the Darkness at Holkham NNR

Time: 18:30-20:30           Venue: The Lookout, Lady Anne's Drive, Holkham

Organiser: Holkham Estate

Take an exclusive night-time walk around Holkham National Nature Reserve with our expert wildlife guide. Starting as the sun begins to go down over the marshes, we will explore the pinewoods, freshmarshes, sand dunes, salt marsh and beach. With some creatures settling down for the night and some just waking up this will be a sensory treat. Bats, owls, moths and a whole lot more will take centre stage on this atmospheric journey around this wonderful part of the Norfolk Coast. This event is aimed at families, children aged 5yrs+. Please note you will need to be able to walk leisurely for 2 hours. Please also wear appropriate clothing for the weather and sturdy footwear.

Booking is essential: Places are limited, please email: w.clennell@holkham.co.uk to book.

 

Sunday 26th September – Ponds at Night (online podcast)

Time: 19:30-20:00       Venue: Online

Organiser: Carl Sayer, University College London

A Podcast (or Pondcast!) focused on what happens at ponds in the night - which is when they wake up! It will cover animals & plants, bats, mammals and even eels. The recordings will be made during night walks in late summer at ponds at Bodham looking at what can be seen or heard both above and under the water!

 

Thursday 30th September - Wild at Night at RSPB Titchwell Marsh

Time: 18:30-20:00       Venue: Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve

Organiser: RSPB Titchwell

RSPB Titchwell Reserve is a Dark Sky Discovery Site. This guided walk as the sun sets will provide you with the opportunity to see and celebrate the wonders of dark skies, specifically for wildlife, as our knowledgeable guide points out some of the amazing nocturnal creatures that call the reserve home.

Booking is essential: Places are limited, please email titchwell@rspb.org.uk or call 01485 210779 to book.

 

Saturday 2nd October: A guided tour of the night sky

Time: 19:00 till late     Venue: Barrow Common Dark Sky Discovery Site

Organiser: King's Lynn and District Astronomical Society

Discover the wonders of the night sky from one of our Designated Dark Sky Discovery Sites with highly experienced astronomers from the King's Lynn Astronomical Society. There will be a collection of telescopes for people to see Jupiter, Saturn, galaxies, star clusters and much more. The event is subject to clear skies, please wear sturdy footwear and dress for all weathers.

The event is free of charge, but booking is essential. To book your place phone John Craythorne on 01945 701038 or email jcraythorne43@gmail.com.

 

Tuesday 5th October: Online talk - Jupiter and Saturn - Giants of the Solar System

Time: 19:00-20:00       Venue: Online

Organiser: King's Lynn and District Astronomical Society

Guided by John Craythorne in this virtual talk, take a tour of our Solar System, particularly planetary giants Jupiter & Saturn which will be visible in the night sky during the festival.

To find out how you can join this online event, phone John Craythorne on 01945 701038 or email jcraythorne43@gmail.com.

 

Wednesday 6th October: Virtual Sound Walk

Time: 18:00-20:00       Venue: Online live via YouTube

Organiser: RSPB Titchwell & Recast Music

Take a virtual walk around RSPB Titchwell Marsh, a Dark Sky Discovery Site, and its varied habitats as the sun sets and turns into night. Tune in from the comfort of your home to hear the coast, marshes and woodland, as your knowledgeable guide points out some of the knowledgeable creatures that call this reserve home. A collaboration between RSPB and the Homesounds Project from Recast Music. Live link to follow in due course.

 

Thursday 7th October: Snettisham Bat Walk and Talk

Time:   17:00-19:00       Venue: Methodist Church, Lynn Rd, Snettisham, PE31 7QA

Organiser: Snettisham Parish Council

Dark skies are essential for bats, which are a superb indicator of the health of our environment. Join Ash Murray for an introductory talk about bats in and around Snettisham, with refreshments, followed by a guided walk of Snettisham Common. The talk will be free and open to all, but there will be a small charge (£5 per person) for the walk. Please wear sturdy footwear and warm/waterproof clothing.

Booking is essential, contact clerk@snettishamparishcouncil.gov.uk to book your place.

 

Thursday 7th October: Dark Skies Evening Stroll

Time: 17:00-19:00       Venue: NWT Cley Marshes Reserve

Organiser: Norfolk Wildlife Trust

A walk around Cley reserve, at dusk, led by one of the NWT volunteer guides. This will be a chance to experience the unique atmosphere of our beautiful coastal reserve as darkness descends, possibly see some unusual wildlife, and weather permitting, enjoy the night-time skies in an area with minimal light pollution. Please bring a small hand torch.

Cost: £4.50 NWT members, £6.50 non-members. Booking is essential, please call 01263 740008

 

Friday 8th October: Eely Dark Nights

Time: 19:30-20:00            Venue: Online

Organiser: Norfolk Rivers Trust

Join Ursula from the Norfolk Rivers Trust to watch some pre-recorded footage of elvers migrating into our Norfolk rivers during the spring. Then join experts Ursula and team in a live session to discover how important dark skies are for these and other aquatic creatures for migration, predator avoidance and more. Online link to follow in due course.