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Star gazing

Northumberland International Dark Sky Park

The Northumberland National Park has just been given international dark sky status. There are only three of these in the world and only one in Europe. It's right on our doorstep here at Herding Hill Farm! We are less than a mile from the dark sky discovery site at Cawfields Quarry which is at the moment, the only one in the whole park. The skies above our campsite are truly spectacular!
Click on the video clip below and learn about the park.

A dark-sky park is an area, usually surrounding a park or observatory, that is kept free of artificial light pollution. The purpose of a dark-sky preserve is generally to promote astronomy. The rural areas of Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water & Forest Park are some of the darkest in the country.

Such parks possess exceptional starry skies and natural nocturnal habitat, where light pollution is mitigated and natural darkness is valuable as an important educational, cultural, scenic, and natural resource.

The benefit of becoming a Dark Sky Park will help ensure the area is kept free from light pollution and will sustain opportunities for people to enjoy the night sky.

Our star gazing events

Billions of shimmering stars making up our Milky Way, a plethora of planets, dazzling meteor showers and the glow of galaxies like Andromeda - the dark skies of Northumberland as seen on Robson Green's Tales from Northumberland are home to star gazing opportunities that are out of this world. Around 85% of the UK population has never seen a truly dark sky. So for an astronomic experience, (that won’t cost the universe), head over to Herding Hill Farm for unrivalled stargazing. The best time for stargazing is during the autumn and winter months, when the nights draw in. You don’t need an expensive telescope, just bring a pair of binoculars, a deck chair, and enjoy a hot drink and a bite to eat at one of our Star Gazing Events. Click here for more details. These "Star Gazing Events" are perfect for amateur astronomers and those folks who want a unique and special experience.

It starts, in our cafe bar, usually with a brief history of astronomy presentation. This includes an explanation of distances in space, what equipment to use, and an introduction to astro-photography. It is suitable for all the family. Drinks and food will be available. Booking for the presentation is essential since it is usually limited to 25 persons. Call us now to book your place. tel: 01434 320175

After the presentation, between 8.30pm and 10pm and weather permitting, telescope observations of the night sky take place at the nearby Cawfields Dark Sky Discovery Site. There is no restriction on numbers for this part, so bring your cameras and telescopes and join fellow star gazers marvel at the wonderous night skies of Northumberland.

Cawfields was once a working quarry, but since the demise of the quarry in the last century, the site has been filled with a deep lake (now used by local diving clubs) and landscaped to provide an attractive picnic spot and with no nearby light pollution this a good site for dark sky observations. The video clip on the left will give you a taste for what to expect if you come to one of our star gazing events.

You can walk to Cawfields dark sky discovery site and call in for a pint and a bite to eat at a warm cosy country inn. The Milecastle Inn is just a short walk from our campsite. Why not do it properly, and stay overnight at Herding Hill Farm? Our wigwams are warm and comfortable.

Email us at for more information about our popular star gazing events and parties.

Discover our skies at #nlanddarkskypark or

  The park is Europe's biggest area of protected night sky which means future generations will be able to cherish and enjoy the spectacular views.
  It stretches across 1470 square kilometres of breathtaking scenery combining Northumberland National Park with Kielder Water & Forest Park.
   We are officially the darkest part of England - we see thousands of stars overhead compared with a handful from towns and cities!
  Northumberland is also brimming with wildlife like bats and owls - by controlling light pollution our Dark Sky Park is good for them too!
  We are gold star quality - the International Dark Sky Association has given Northumberland Dark Sky Park its highest possible rating for the starry skies overhead.
  There are loads of ways to get involved with events at the award winning Kielder Observatory and at the Dark Sky Discovery site at Cawfields on Hardian's Wall
  Discover our skies at #nlanddarkskypark or

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