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Norfolk Coast Dark Skies Festival 2021

Saturday 25th September - Sunday 10th October

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 and people and explore ways in which we can preserve our dark skies and dark landscapes 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.

Find out more about our dark skies work.

Below are a list of events taking place during the festival. 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 would like to host and organise an event for the 2022 Festival get in touch with us 

Illustration for Norfolk Coast Dark Skies Festival 2021
Aurora borealis from Morston Quay by James Rowley-Hill

Aurora borealis from Morston Quay by James Rowley-Hill

Dark Skies education resource for schools

Download this free teacher information which includes an activity to take part in, plus links to further resources and contact details for outreach or school visit opportunities

Do get in touch if you would like further information on our dark skies work or support with delivering our light pollution survey activity. We would love to feature some schools during our Dark Skies Festival fortnight so please send any examples of your pupil's dark skies work to us at aonb@norfolk.gov.uk 

If you are a youth group leader you are welcome to use the activity and links too and you may like to use them to take part in our Norfolk Coast Scout & Guide Challenge Badge 

Saturday 9th October - Dark Sky Adventure at How Hill

Time: 19.00-21.00               Venue: How Hill Nature Reserve

Organiser: Broads Authority

A guided night walk to experience the weird and wonderful night-time world around How Hill National Nature Reserve in the heart of the Broads; an adventure of astronomy, night creatures and sensory discovery; rounded off with just a touch of night magic!

Booking essential: £6 adult £5 under 16s. £18 Family (2 adult 2 Children) Age 7+ (No unaccompanied children). Email Toad Hole Cottage or call 01603 756096

Comet Neowise in 2020, by Bob Mizon

Comet Neowise in 2020, by Bob Mizon

Saturday 9th October - Biodiversity and Light Pollution: An Evening with Bob Mizon, MBE

Time: 19.00-21.00            Venue: Trimingham Village Hall, Stone Field, Cromer Road, Trimingham, NR11 8HY

Organiser: Norfolk Coast Partnership

Bob Mizon MBE, is respected astronomer, Co-ordinator of the Commission for Dark Skies (CfDS), Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and long term campaigner to reduce light pollution. during this fascinating evening, Bob will be sharing his knowledge and thoughts on how wildlife need the dark and in turn how light pollution can have a major impact on their life cycles and behaviour.

The event is free of charge, but booking is essential via Eventbrite . If you would like to make a donation towards the festival on the night, you are most welcome to.

Contact: aonb@norfolk.gov.uk

Illustration for Norfolk Coast Dark Skies Festival 2021

Saturday 9th - Sunday 10th October - Live 24hr sound broadcast from Winterton

As part of the Norwich University of Arts (NUA) Moveable Estates work the Homesounds project will be live streaming from Winterton throughout a 24 hour period from Saturday evening to Sunday evening. Microphones situated in different locations will capture the huge array of environmental sounds that this beautiful stretch of coastline has to offer. Tune in via the Homesounds site

Cecilia Evans

Cecilia Evans

Sunday 10th October - Into the Darkness at Holkham

Time: 18:30-20:30          Venue: Holkham National Nature Reserve

UNFORTUNATELY DUE TO UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED. Please contact Holkham Estate if you were booked onto this event.

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 North Norfolk coast.

Booking is essential via the Holkham website: 

https://www.holkham.co.uk/events/details/into-the-darkness-on-the-holkham-national-nature-reserve

European eel illustration by Kate Dougan

European eel illustration by Kate Dougan

Friday 8th October: Eely Dark Nights

Time: 19:30-21:00            Venue: Online

Organiser: Norfolk Rivers Trust

Join Ursula Juta from the Norfolk Rivers Trust to discover how important dark skies are for eels and other aquatic creatures. This live session focuses on our freshwater habitats and looks at how the critically endangered European eel, found in the chalk streams of North Norfolk, and other species, use and need the dark for a range of reasons such as migration, predator avoidance etc. This will be followed by a link to a pre-recorded film about the conservation of the European eel on the River Glaven.

Order free online tickets for the event via Eventbrite and a Zoom link will be sent to you in due course.

Sunset over NWT Cley Marshes Reserve

Sunset over NWT Cley Marshes Reserve

Thursday 7th October: Dark Skies Evening Stroll

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

Organiser: Norfolk Wildlife Trust

SORRY THIS EVENT IS FULLY BOOKED

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, plus booking fee. Booking is essential via the Norfolk Wildlife Trust Eventbrite page

 

Thursday 7th October: Bat Walk and Talk at Snettisham, with Ash Murray

Time: 17:30-19:30               Venue: Snettisham Common

Organiser: Snettisham Parish Council

SORRY THIS EVENT IS NOW FULLY BOOKED

A talk and nocturnal walk around Snettisham Common with bat expert, Ash Murray, learning about these incredible creatures as well as listening out for owls and other night time delights. Please wear appropriate warm weather gear and sturdy shoes and bring a small torch.

Cost: £5.00 donation on the night, which will be given to a Bat Conservation charity. Booking is essential via the Norfolk Coast Partnership Eventbrite page 

Stargazing from Kelling Heath by Dave Williams

Stargazing from Kelling Heath by Dave Williams

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 register your interest in this online event please email John Craythorne at  jcraythorne43@gmail.com.

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

SORRY THIS EVENT IS POSTPONED - due to forecasted bad weather

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 contact John Craythorne on 01945 701038 or email jcraythorne43@gmail.com.

 

Saturday 2nd October: Stargazing from Kelling Heath Dark Sky Discovery Site

SORRY THIS EVENT IS POSTPONED - due to forecasted bad weather

Time: 19:30 - 22:30     Venue: Kelling Heath Holiday Park

Organiser: North Norfolk Astronomy Society (NNAS)

Join the North Norfolk Astronomers to discover the skies above Kelling Heath, one of 4 Dark Sky Discovery Sites on the Norfolk Coast. Named because of their pristine night skies that allow you to marvel at the Milky Way and other celestial wonders. This event is weather dependent, please dress appropriately and wear sturdy footwear as the ground is uneven. If you need to bring a torch, please bring a red torch or one with a red filter on it. The event is free of charge, but booking is essential. To book your place phone Kelling Heath Holiday Park on 01263 588181. Meet at reception for a guided walk by NNAS to the Dark Sky Discovery Site.

Brent geese in flight

Brent geese in flight

Friday 1st October - Coastal Calmness in Darkness

Time: 19:00-20:00            Venue: Brancaster Beach

Organiser: My Calm Nature

Cost: Free (car park = £4)

Connecting mind, body and nature, this free event will be conducted in silence, giving you the opportunity to embrace the darkness, engage in guided mindfulness and reflection, and experience the coast by night.

Adults only. No pets allowed. Please wear appropriate clothing.

Booking is essential: Places are limited, book via Eventbrite

 

Friday 1st October- A Tour of the skies – at Woodland Holiday Park

Time: 20:00-22:00           Venue: Marling's Bar and Grill at Woodland Holiday Park,Trimingham, NR11 8QJ

A relaxing evening outside under the stars at Woodlands. Stargazing with North Norfolk Astronomy Society from 8:30pm with hot drinks and snacks available. Weather dependent - the event will not go ahead if very overcast or raining. Visitors are welcome to bring warm blankets, picnic blankets and torches - there is heating outside but this is limited. Parking in main car parks and shingle at entrance.

Booking is essential: Places are limited - book after 12pm daily on 01263579208 or by email any time at FOH@woodland-park.co.uk. 

 

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

Time: 18:30-20:00       Venue: Titchwell Marsh Dark Sky Discovery Site

Organiser: RSPB Titchwell

Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve is one of 4 Dark Sky Discovery Sites on the Norfolk Coast - named because of their incredibly pristine dark skies. 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 book via the RSPB Titchwell Events page 

 

North Norfolk Astronomy Society

North Norfolk Astronomy Society

Sunday 26th September - Stargazing at Wiveton Down Dark Sky Discovery Site

Time: 20:00-22:30        Venue: Wiveton Down Dark Sky Discovery Site 

Organiser: North Norfolk Astronomy Society (NNAS)

Join the North Norfolk Astronomers to see the stars high up on Wiveton Downs, one of 4 Dark Sky Discovery Sites on the Norfolk Coast. Named because of their pristine night skies that allow you to marvel at the Milky Way and other celestial wonders. This event is weather dependent, please dress appropriately and wear sturdy footwear as the ground is uneven. If you need to bring a torch, please bring a red torch or one with a red filter on it. For more information contact NNAS at events@nnas.org. This event is free and booking is not essential.

Mark Preston

Mark Preston

Saturday 25th September – Horsey after Dark

Time: 18:00-21:00          Venue: Horsey Windpump, Great Yarmouth NR29 4EF

Organiser: National Trust

Experience an exclusive after hours event - discover the spooky history of the windpump, learn about the nocturnal creatures that come alive at night and enjoy spectacular unspoilt views of the night sky over the broads. We will also be enjoying night sky photography workshops, lantern making, and our café will be open. Enjoy a hot drink in the firefly garden and soak in the unique atmosphere of Horsey after dark.

Tickets £10 adult, £5 Child

Booking is advisable: Send your first name and number of adult or child tickets to horseywindpump@nationaltrust.org.uk. There will be a limited number of tickets available on the evening and payment will be taken on arrival. 

Saturday 25th September - Dark Sky Adventure at How Hill

Time: 19.00-21.00               Venue: How Hill Nature Reserve

Organiser: Broads Authority

A guided night walk to experience the weird and wonderful night-time world around How Hill National Nature Reserve in the heart of the Broads; an adventure of astronomy, night creatures and sensory discovery; rounded off with just a touch of night magic!

Booking essential: £6 adult £5 under 16s. £18 Family (2 adult 2 Children) Age 7+ (No unaccompanied children). Email Toad Hole Cottage or call 01603 756096

Cecilia Evans

Cecilia Evans

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: SORRY THIS IS NOW FULLY BOOKED

2019 Dark Skies Festival launch at NWT Cley Visitor Centre

2019 Dark Skies Festival launch at NWT Cley Visitor Centre

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

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

Organiser: Norfolk Coast Partnership           

SORRY THIS EVENT IS NOW FULLY BOOKED - If you would like to be added to the waiting list, please click on the event link below.

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

A big thank you to all our festival partners!

Illustration for Norfolk Coast Dark Skies Festival 2021