Dark Skies over Dorset

For centuries our ancestors have observed the dark star strewn skies, they created constellations, and imbedded celestial beliefs within the evolution of our society. The starry skies have enriched our cultural heritage and they continue to inspire the work of artists, songwriters and poets.

Dark night skies are a special quality of the AONB and contribute to the areas sense of tranquillity and remoteness. A combination of clear night skies and low levels of light pollution make Dorset one of the best places in the country for stargazing. However, views of the stars are at threat from increasing volumes of light pollution caused by artificial light.

Dark Sky Discovery


Durlston Country Park near Swanage is a Dark Sky Discovery Site, host to a number of stargazing activities, and a telescope observatory supported by members of the Wessex Astronomical Society.

Details of the stargazing events can be found on the Durlston Country Park website, also visit the Dark Sky Discovery Site website for more information about the night sky and to find your local stargazing site.

The AONB team welcomes the opportunity to receive any information and/or images  that may help to communicate the value of Dark Skies over Dorset, and highlight the negative effects of light pollution.


To learn more, click on the links below:

British Astronomical Association, Campaign for Dark Skies

Wessex Astronomical Society

Campaign to Protect Rural England

In a national survey commissioned by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, respondants perceived "seeing the stars at night" as one of the top 10 factors that contributes to their sense of experiencing tranquillity when they visit the countryside.

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