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Dark Skies Festival 23-26 September 2020

Our Dark Skies Festival is going VIRTUAL this year! For four days immerse yourself in all things dark skies related. Scroll down to see how our wonderful festival partners are celebrating our splendid night skies and dark landscapes. Also discover how we can keep them beautifully dark. Alongside the schedule there will be podcasts, activities, impromptu events, and links to further information.

Join in on social media, tell your friends and keep checking this webpage for updates. 

Starry skies!

Twitter and Facebook @NorfolkAONB    Instagram @norfolkcoastaonb

#Norfolkcoastdarkskies, #darkcoastnorfolk, #norfolkaonbdsf

Cley windmill by Annie Johnson

Cley windmill by Annie Johnson

Illustration for Dark Skies Festival 23-26 September 2020

 Find out more about our Dark Skies project, and how you can DO YOUR BIT to reduce light pollution on our beautiful coast


Make a dark skies pledge

Every single one of us can do something to reduce lighting on our coast. Download our Pledge sheet to see what you could do. Complete the attached 12-month pledge and return to us. Stick it on your fridge as a reminder and don't forget to tell us how you get on.

Email or on social media using #Norfolkdarkskiespledge

Illustration for Dark Skies Festival 23-26 September 2020

Our friends at the Broads Authority are running an art competition to celebrate the critters of the night!

See image for more information!

For your diary...

Barn owl, Broads Authority

Barn owl, Broads Authority

See below for our scheduled events. In amongst these there will be podcasts, videos, links and activities. Follow our AONB Festival page on Facebook, and on Twitter and please share your posts and pictures of how you are taking part.

Wednesday 23rd September

18:00  Councillor Brian Long, Chair of the Norfolk Coast Partnership, offically launches the festival with a few opening words. Via YouTube .

North Norfolk's Dark Skies from Kelling Heath

Watch this short film from Kelling Heath and Visit North Norfolk about the stunning night skies we have here on the Norfolk Coast

19:00-20:00  Talking with Bob Mizon, MBE

Lucy Galvin and Kate Dougan from the Norfolk Coast Partnership staff team will be chatting live via Zoom to Bob Mizon, lifelong astronomer and Co-ordinator of the British Astronomical Association's Commission for Dark Skies (CfDS). The CfDS aims to advocate the value of dark skies and turn back the tide of light pollution that has seriously affected our view of the stars over the last fifty years. Bob will be sharing his expertise with us and be available for questions. Watch the recording of this session HERE.

Owls on the prowl - a podcast

We go exploring in the Broads with Nick Sanderson from the Broads Authority and wildlife enthusiast John Tyler in their first podcast (of 4) about Owls on the prowl in the Norfolk Broads

20:45-21:45  Weather on the Norfolk Coast, by Chris Bell, Weatherquest

Chris Bell, is a meteorologist, Forecasting Director at Weatherquest and Lecturer of Meteorology at the University of East Anglia. He can also occasionally be seen as a weather presenter on BBC Look East. In this pre-recorded talk Chris gives us a fascinating insight into weather on the Norfolk Coast.  Anyone who has ever tried stargazing or night photography here will understand how wild the weather can be, especially in the winter when dark skies are at their best. Watch via YouTube  and contact Chris on Twitter @stormbell if you have any questions.

Illustration for Dark Skies Festival 23-26 September 2020

Thursday 24th September

The Silent World of Bats - a podcast

Another brilliant podcast from the Broads Authority - the Silent World of Bats.                                                     

Listen again HERE 

Bat fans of all ages may enjoy these fun resources from The Bat Conservation Trust

17:45 - 18:00   Night walking: Top tips from Dixe Wills

Dixe Wills is an author and green travel writer. He has written several books, one of which being 'At NIght: A Journey Around Britain from Dawn till Dusk'.  Dixe kindly led a fascinating night walk here on the Coast during last year's Dark Skies Festival and we hope he will join us again soon. You can also find him on Twitter @dixewills or on

For now, Dixe shares his top tips for walking at night via this pre-recorded film on YouTube


18:30 - 07:30  Live stream Sound Walk at Titchwell RSPB Reserve

Spend time listening to the sounds of Titchwell Marsh from sunset to sunrise. Listeners will be taken on a live audio tour through the reserves varied and rich habitats, guided by the HomeSounds project and the RSPB  Join in via YouTube


Helping Hedgehogs

Our British hedgehog is now officially classified as vulnerable to extinction, but there is plenty that we can all do to help these wonderful animals. This great film by the BritishHedgehogPreservationSociety gives some simple, yet effective ideas.

19:30 - 21:00 A Walk Through the Heavens, by John Craythorne, King's Lynn and District Astronomy Society (KLADAS)

John Craythorne, a very experienced astronomer and speaker from KLADAS, will spend this live Zoom session introducing us to the skies at night. This talk is guaranteed to be fascinating and very informative, especially for those who are new to astronomy. John will be available afterwards for questions. Please book your place on this Zoom session by emailing

Illustration for Dark Skies Festival 23-26 September 2020

Amazing Moths

Moths are important pollinators and a vital food source for bats, birds and other creatures. Discover how you can help the declining moth population by providing food and habitat for the moths in your garden in this video by The Wildlife Garden Project: TheWildlifeGardenProject_Moths


Broads Authority a torch made from birch bark

Broads Authority a torch made from birch bark

Friday 25th September

The Amazing Universe with Bob Mizon, MBE

During this session, Bob will delve into the contents and evolution of our universe, showcasing some of the sights and wonders that we might be able to spot next time we are looking at the night skies.

Zoom link to follow

Glow Bright - a podcast

Our third in this series of night time podcasts, here Nick and John from the Broads Authority tell us about the things that glow bright in the night.  Listen HERE and check out the factsheet

16:30 Children's astronomy session: Did we just discover life on Venus?

An event for all but especially for any budding astronomers out there. Join Dr Matt Bothwell for a special children's talk where you can find out all about ths amazing discovery. YouTube session by the Institute of Astronomy Cambridge at; 

17:45 - 18:20  An interview with David Hook from CPRE

Kate Dougan, from the Norfolk Coast Partnership, discusses lighting in Norfolk, the effects of light pollution on people and wildlife, and solutions available, with David Hook from the Campaign to Protect Rural England - Norfolk. Filmed for the Norfolk Coast Virtual Dark Skies Festival, September 2020. See CPRE Norfolk's webpage for further information. To ensure lighting is considered within planning applications, click on the PDF for a standard clause produced by CPRE Norfolk for your use.

Watch the video here

20:15 - 21:00  Calmness in the Darkness

Hosted by Adele from @MyCalmNature, this event (live & online) will explore how artificial light affects the natural environment and our own well-being. You will be guided through reflection and relaxation exercises, to help you experience calmness in the darkness.

Via Zoom. Advanced booking required. Cost is £5pp. Email: Cost £5 per person.


Saturday 26th September

Night Magic - a podcast

Once again we join Nick Sanderson from the Broads Authority and John Tyler, wildlife enthusiast and night explorer. This time they investigate the magical happenings that can take place after dark

Listen again HERE and download the factsheet that accompanies it, below

19:00-22:00 Dark Skies @Home 

Spend the evening outside and discover the dark from the comfort of home! Arm yourself with comfy seating, cosy blankets and maybe a hot chocolate or two, and join in with this Facebook event. Can you see the stars where you live? The relative quiet of night time may bring different sights and sounds to those of the day time; you might also spy some nocturnal wildlife - emerging bats, owls hooting or the rustling of a hedgehog nearby. Be sure to share these experiences with others around the country. During the evening we will be joining our expert friends at GoStargazing who themselves are hosting an International Observe the Moon event, complete with live stargazing from their observatory in Ripon. Visit Facebook @norfolkcoastaonb to join in.

18:30-19:30  Live stream Sound Walk at Sheringham Park

Spend the evening enjoying the acoustics of Sheringham Park from sunset to sunrise. Guided by the HomeSounds Project and local ecologists, go on a tour of this National Trust property with its varied habitats open grassland, parkland and heath. During this tour Sound Artist Oliver Payne will create and perform a work inspired by the changing light and sounds. 

Join in via YouTube

Festival partners

Illustration for Dark Skies Festival 23-26 September 2020

Thank you to all the individuals and organisations who have contributed to this year's festival. We are interested to hear from anyone who would like to be involved in future festivals; please contact the AONB team