2011 October 10
Exmoor – Dark Sky Reserve
Exmoor National Park has been designated an International Dark Sky Reserve by the International Dark-Sky Association.
This means that the UK now has three International Dark Sky places – with Exmoor joining Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park in Scotland and the Dark Sky Community of the Channel Island of Sark.
Bob Mizon and Martin Morgan-Taylor of the BAA Campaign For Dark Skies surveyed the Exmoor Park in August as part of the approval process. Sky Quality Meters were used for quantitative measurements, which gave readings which compared favourably with Sark.
The Milky Way was clearly visible high overhead, with considerable structure.
Exmoor does have some light pollution near to the horizon. However, this did not appear to have much bearing on the SQM readings. Exmoor is very dark for England, given the high population density, and this new status will help to protect the night sky in Exmoor.
The Exmoor National Park Authority will be running a programme of activities for community groups in and around the National Park as part of a nationwide Dark Sky programme this winter.