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Dark Skies Festival 6-22 September 2019

This year sees our first Dark Skies Festival, celebrating the dark skies and landscapes of the Norfolk Coast.  A variety of events and activities across the area will allow us to discover the sights and sounds of the AONB after dark and appreciate how the lack of light pollution adds to the feeling of tranquility that makes the coast so special.  

Find out more about our work on dark skies and Dark Sky Discovery Sites.

Dark Skies Ale

Illustration for Dark Skies Festival 6-22 September 2019

The Moongazer 'Dark Skies' gold festival ale, brewed especially for our Dark Skies Festival, is available at:
Jolly Sailors, Brancaster
White Horse, Brancaster Staithe
Wensum Lodge, Fakenham
Coach and Horses, Dersingham
Rose and Crown, Harpley
Kelling Heath Holiday Park
Wiveton Bell
Chequers Inn, Binham
Horseshoes, Warham
Hop In, North Walsham
Lifeboat B&B, Wells-next-the-Sea
Nelson Head, Horsey
Pleasure Boat Inn, Hickling
Norfolk Lurcher and Ugly Bug Restaurant, Colton
Wig N Pen, Norwich
Kings Head, Magdalen Street, Norwich
Lollards Pit, Norwich
The Vine, Norwich
Live & Let Live, King's Lynn
Briarfields, Titchwell
Ship Inn, Weybourne
Kings Head, Letheringsett
The Murderers, Norwich
Coldham Hall, Carnser
Coach and Horses, Norwich

Events and Activities

Illustration for Dark Skies Festival 6-22 September 2019

The following events and activities are scheduled for the festival fortnight. Download the pdf for a full list of events and contact the organiser directly to book your places.  Make sure to revisit this page often as the list will be updated as September approaches.

Join in with the festival on Twitter and Facebook @NorfolkAONB and Instagram @norfolkcoastaonb and use #Norfolkcoastdarkskies #darkcoastnorfolk #norfolkaonbdsf to let us know how you are helping to keep our coast beautifully dark.

If you would like to be involved or simply would like more information about the festival or the AONB Dark Skies project, contact Kate Dougan kate.dougan@norfolk.gov.uk 

Festival events

Friday 6th September 

Dark Skies Festival launch

A friendly gathering to officially launch the first Dark Skies Festival on the Norfolk Coast.  Cllr Brian Long, Chair of the Norfolk Coast Partnership will offer the official launch, followed by an interesting astronomy talk from John Craythorne of King's Lynn Astronomy Society, and a spot of stargazing on the terrace (if weather permits!). We may have a couple of other surprises too….

Venue: Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Cley Visitor Centre, NR25 7SA Time: 6.00-8.00pm. Free entry.

Booking essential: Contact the Norfolk Coast Partnership on aonb@norfolk.gov.uk or 01328 850530.

Saturday 7th September 

Celestial wonders under dark skies in Norfolk
A short illustrated guide followed by the chance to see some of these for yourselves through several telescopes at Saturn, Jupiter and a 9 day old moon plus several deep sky objects. A free event sponsored
by Deepdale Backpackers and King's Lynn and District Astronomy Society.   

Venue: Deepdale Backpackers Campsite, Burnham Deepdale.          Time: 7.00 - 10.00pm.       

Booking essential: To book a place and more information contact John Craythorne on 01945 701038 or Alan Gosling on 01553 774394. 

Please note this event is weather dependent, dress appropriately for the conditions

Saturday 7th September 

Stargazing at Kelling Heath Dark Sky Discovery Site
Introduction to basic astronomy, followed by a walk to the Dark Sky Discovery Site, laser constellation tour and telescope viewing. A free event sponsored by Kelling Heath Holiday Park and North Norfolk Astronomy
Society.
Venue: Kelling Heath Holiday Park.        Time: From 8.00pm.      

Booking essential: Call Kelling Heath Reception on 01263 588181. Please note that this event is weather dependent, dress appropriately for the conditions.

Tuesday 10th September

Creatures of the Night

Come and see what we have found in our moth and mammal traps which we set each night as part of our ongoing survey work at Natural Surroundings. Kate Dougan from the AONB will be here to talk about the importance of Dark Skies.

Venue: Natural Surroundings, Bayfield Estate, Glandford, Nr Holt. NR25 7JN

Time: From 10.00am.

Cost: Free entry.  Please dress appropriately for outdoor conditions.

For more information: http://www.naturalsurroundings.info/ Email: wildlife@naturalsurroundings.info.

Tuesday 10th September

Wild at Night
Walk through the reserve with bat boxes, looking for moths and other wildlife that comes out in the dusk/
evening
Venue: RSPB Titchwell Marsh.               Time: 7.00-9.00pm

Cost: Adults £10, Child £5 with discounts for RSPB members. 

Booking essential: Book via Eventbrite https://bit.ly/2yJpn0K . For further information contact the RSPB Titchwell Reserve titchwell@rspb.org.uk or 01485 210779
Please dress appropriately for the conditions.

Wednesday 11th September

Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Visitor Centre evening stroll and BBQ
A glorious way to end your day. Enjoy an evening exploring the reserve followed by a barbecue on the
terrace, which offers fantastic views across the marsh.

Venue: Cley Visitor Centre.      Time: 6:30-9.00pm

Cost: £10 NWT members, £12 non-members. Booking essential: 01263 740008
Please dress appropriately for the conditions

Wednesday 11th September 

Walk Cromer Twilight walk & star-gazing                                                                                                                        A 3.5 mile walk with Mike Bassingham to Abb's Common, Runton and back. Please wear suitable clothing and bring a torch.

Venue: Meet at Runton Road car park.            Time: 7.00-9.00pm

Cost: £2 per person. For more information please contact Walk Cromer 

Saturday 14th September

Norfolk Wildlife Trust Bats at Cley-next-the-Sea
James Goldsmith leads this evening exploring the bats that live in the UK, how to identify different species, where they live, and discusses their conservation status. You will then head to St Margaret's Church in Cley where infrared imaging equipment will help you see the bat population living there.

Venue: Meet at Cley Marshes Visitor Centre (short drive to church after theory session-own transport required).              Time: 5.30-9.00pm
Cost: £16 NWT members, £19 non-members.         Booking essential: 01263 740008

SOLD OUT

Saturday 14th September

*PLEASE NOTE THIS EVENT HAS SOLD OUT* If you would like your name added to our reserve list in case of cancellations, please get in touch.

An Introduction to the art of night walking with Dixe Wills                                                                    Spend the evening discovering the AONB at night on a fascinating night walk with author and travel writer
Dixe Wills. Starting at Blakeney, this 7 mile night walk will take you on a round trip to Wiveton Downs Dark
Sky Discovery Site then back to Blakeney and across the Blakeney Freshes embankment. Along the way you
will discover night walking, the joys of being outside in moonlight and starlight (and occasionally Venuslight
and Marslight), the sights, sounds and smells of the dark. You will also receive handy tips on basic navigation at night using the stars as well as dos/don'ts for staying safe while walking at night.

Time: 7.30-11.30pm

Cost: £10 per person, participants must be at least 16 years old and capable of easily walking 7 miles,
in the dark over uneven terrain.       

Booking essential: Contact the Norfolk Coast Partnership on 01328 850530 or aonb@norfolk.gov.uk
Wear sturdy shoes and dress appropriately for the weather conditions. Bring refreshments.

Sunday 15th September 2019

Nocturnal bird migration

Simon Gillings from the British Trust of Ornithology will be giving us a talk and demonstration of the work they do to monitor the nocturnal migration of birds by recording their flight calls.

Venue: Thornham Village Hall

Time: 19:00-21:00                          Cost: Free

Booking essential: Please contact the Norfolk Coast Partnership aonb@norfolk.gov.uk or on 01328 850530

Tuesday 17th September

Creatures of the Night

Come and see what we have found in our moth and mammal traps which we set each night as part of our ongoing survey work at Natural Surroundings. Kate Dougan from the AONB will be here to talk about the importance of Dark Skies.

Venue: Natural Surroundings, Bayfield Estate, Glandford, Nr Holt. NR25 7JN.

Time: From 10.00am                  Cost: Free entry. 

Please dress appropriately for outdoor conditions.

For more information: http://www.naturalsurroundings.info/ Email: wildlife@naturalsurroundings.info.

 

Wednesday 18th September

Splendours of the dark skies of the Norfolk Coast
An opportunity to discover the celestial wonders of our night skies - a free event organised by King's Lynn and District Astronomy Society.

Venue: Barrow Common, Common Lane, Brancaster. Meet at Brancaster Staithe car park at 7.30pm. 

Time: 7.30-10.00pm.      Booking essential: Contact John Craythorne on 01945 701038 or Alan Gosling on 01553 77439. 
Please note this event is weather dependent, dress appropriately for the conditions.

Friday 20th September

Snapshot of the skies
Mini walk through the reserve looking for moths and other wildlife that comes out in the dusk/evening
followed by introduction to astro-photography with the King's Lynn and District Astronomy Society.

Venue: RSPB Titchwell Marsh.         Time: 7.00-9.00pm

Cost: Adults £10, Child £5 with discounts for RSPB members.   

Booking essential: Contact the RSPB Titchwell Reserve titchwell@rspb.org.uk or 01485 210779
Please dress appropriately for the conditions.

Sunday 22nd September

Norfolk Coast AONB Dark Skies Festival Celebration

Join us to celebrate our fabulous dark skies, how they feature in folklore and are essential for our own health and well-being.  We are especially lucky to be joined by Mike Toms from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) who will give us a fascinating insight into how wildlife uses darkness to their benefit.  We will look at ways in which we can all contribute to keeping our landscapes dark AND if weather permits we will be able to stay on for a bit and get outside for a spot of stargazing. 

Venue: Binham Village Memorial Hall, Warham Road,Binham, NR21 0DR             Time: 6.00-8.00pm

Cost: Free                                           

Booking is essential: Contact the Norfolk Coast Partnership on aonb@norfolk.gov.uk or 01328 850530