Littondale is part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park’s Dark Sky Reserve.
The National Park was designated a Dark Sky Reserve by the International Dark Sky Association in December 2020 due to its superb dark sky. There are large areas of the National Park completely free from local light pollution, such as street lights.
The Yorkshire Dales has some of the UK’s starriest skies and is the biggest reserve in the UK.
In the Dales you can see thousands of stars overhead compared with a handful seen from towns and cities. On a clear night you can see the Milky Way as well as the planets, meteors – and not forgetting the Moon. You might even catch the Northern Lights when activity and conditions are right, as well as the International Space Station travelling at 17,000mph overhead.
The best time to view the dark skies in all their glory are between September and May when the nights are longer and therefore darker. Spring is best for viewing planets; Autumn for the Milky Way & shooting stars and Winter for star clusters & constellations.
Littondale’s dark skies are also brilliant for nocturnal wildlife with Owls, Bats, Moths, Hedgehogs etc. frequently seen.
Littondale in particular has very dark skies, getting darker the further you venture up the Dale as there is very little light pollution. This makes Littondale a fantastic place to start your stargazing adventure.
You can view the Yorkshire Dales National Park’s Stargazing leaflet for top tips on viewing at night, what to look for and when.
There are four designated Dark Sky Discovery Sites in the Yorkshire Dales National Park
1) Hawes National Park Centre
2) Malham National Park Centre
3) Buckden National Park Car Park
4) Tan Hill Inn.
(Malham & Buckden are located in Malhamdale and Wharfedale the 2 dales either side of Littondale)
These are locations that are defined as being open to the public, accessible to all abilities and provide parking and other facilities, and are a great place to begin.
So what are you waiting for? Come and visit Littondale and begin to appreciate the UK’s dark skies at their very best.