The Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty becomes the 14th reserve across the globe to gain international recognition for its dark skies

King Alfreds Tower, Stourhead, Wiltshire. Photo: Paul Howell, Pictor Image

Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) has been formally designated an International Dark Sky Reserve (IDSR) by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) based in Tucson, USA.

The AONB joins a prestigious group of areas around the world that are certified IDA International Dark-Sky Reserves.

Seeing stars and their constellations is often impossible due to light pollution, but weather-permitting, both the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy can be seen from Cranborne Chase.

The AONB has the largest central area of darkness of any International Dark Sky Reserve in the UK, with land spanning almost 1000 square kilometres.

Linda Nunn, Director of Cranborne Chase AONB, says: “We think of our beautiful landscapes as being on the ground, but 50% of our landscape is above our heads, in the sky.

The quality of our night sky is so important and this isn’t just for the benefit of astronomers. There are huge benefits for nocturnal wildlife, our own human health and wellbeing, for education, tourism and for energy saving. We’re thrilled to be playing our part.”

This result is the culmination of over ten years’ work by the Dark Sky project team at the AONB led by Amanda Scott for the last 18 months.

Learn more:


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

three × 2 =