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Dark skies

Our 20-year vision for what we would like for the AONB by 2036 is that "...the area will still be essentially unspoilt with a strong feeling of remoteness, peace and tranquillity, with wide skyscapes, seascapes and dark night skies that show the richness and detail of constellations." 

The Norfolk Coast boasts some of the darkest skies in the country.  The lack of artificial light helps the coast retain its rural character and overall tranquility. The remote and peaceful nature of this are another reason why people are attracted here either to live or as holidaymakers. Darkness provides a multitude of benefits to us - it helps us to sleep, relieves stress and allows us to tap into all our senses and get close to nature.  It is also eesential for wildlife - maintaining natural bio-rhythms, breeding, feeding and migration patterns of species.  

Here you can find out about the work we're doing to look after and celebrate the Norfolk Coast's dark skies, and crucially what you can do to help! Find out more about our AONB Dark Skies Festival this September

How dark are our local skies

You can find information on this from the Campaign for Protections of Rural England's (CPRE) recent 'Night Blight' national survey, which the Norfolk Coast Partnership helped to fund, and from local surveys undertaken by the North Norfolk Astronomy Society, with support in 2010 from our Sustainable Development Fund. 

AONB dark skies working group

This group, which involves the following organisations: Norfolk Coast Partnership; North Norfolk Astronomy Society; CPRE; RSPB; North Norfolk District Council; King's Lynn & West Norfolk Borough Council; Kelling Heath Holiday Park; Deepdale Farms; Holkham Estate, aim to:

1. Promote public awareness & understanding of the importance of dark skies & landscapes in the AONB

2. Maintain & improve current dark skies and landscapes & improve light polluted areas.

They, led by the Norfolk Coast Partnership, nominate potential Dark Sky Discovery Sites and are developing a range of information to allow people to become involved and learn about the area's dark skies.

Dark Sky Discovery Sites

In recognition of the incredible dark skies on the coast, two sites within the AONB have been awarded Dark Sky Discovery Site status.  Wiveton Downs and Kelling Heath Holiday Park have met the strict criteria set by the UK Dark Sky Discovery Partnership, they by showing that they: 

  • are away from the worst of any local light pollution
  • provide good sightlines of the sky
  • have good public access, including firm ground for wheelchairs. The sites are generally freely accessible at all times

They are a fantastic way to raise awareness of the importance of dark skies and encourage a reduction in light pollution.  We plan to apply for more sites throughout the AONB so if you have any locations that you think are eligible, please contact Kate at kate.dougan@norfolk.gov.uk. More information about Dark Sky Discovery Sites can be found here.

Get in touch

These pages provide a range of useful information about dark skies and how you can do your bit to retain our coast's tranquil character. We are interested to hear from you too - if you are a parish council or local business looking to reduce your light emissions (and carbon footprint!) or have a special interest in this area please get in touch kate.dougan@norfolk.gov.uk.  

Introductory Astronomy Course 2019

North Norfolk Astronomy Society recently held an Introductory Astronomy Course for Beginners at Hempton, near Fakenham

Eight topics area spread over the four evenings covered the Night Sky, Constellations, Solar System, Planets, Comets, Asteroids, Meteors, Deep Sky, Telescopes and Space exploration. Find out more here.

For more information about the North Norfolk Astronomy Society go to http://www.nnas.org