Wild About Dark Skies Festival celebrates wonders of the stars

Congratulations to all those involved in making the first ever Wild about Dark Skies Festival a huge success!

Funded by the Sussex Lund grant programme, the Festival raised awareness of the negative impacts of light pollution to our darkest skies within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It also celebrated the value of dark skies to wildlife and our own wellbeing – after all, the landscape above our heads is just as important as the landscape beneath our feet

From Saturday 18 – Sunday 26 February, ‘Wild About…’ community groups in Battle, Burwash, Crowhurst, Etchingham, Ticehurst and Wadhurst came together to run a series of free events across their Parishes, with 63 volunteers at the heart of their success.

Over 360 people – from scout groups to families and interested adults – came to learn more about the stars that we can see in our sky. Attendees enjoyed talks from Sandra Voss from The Observatory Centre, Herstmonceux and Doug Edworthy, former chair of East Sussex Astronomical Society.

We were lucky enough to see the moons of Jupiter and the birthplace of stars in the Orion Nebula. This was made even more special by Sussex Astronomy Group, who used their telescopes to show us the wonderful colours of Sirius and the craters and mountains on the moon. We were also treated to a mobile Planetarium provided by Wonder Dome, which brought the wonders of the night sky inside.

At Batemans, National Trust, leading moth specialist Caroline Moore gave a talk on the wonders of the 2,500 species of moths in Britain, and Dr John Feltwell led a presentation demonstrating how light pollution affects nocturnal animals.

Bob Mizon, International Dark Skies and Dan Oakley, South Downs National Park raised awareness of the importance of having Dark Skies policies within our local communities – and at higher levels within Government – and how we can make a difference in our own backyard.

There were light pollution workshops run by High Weald AONB which demonstrated the impact of light pollution to all species, including humans.

If you want to know how you can help reduce light pollution, download our guide:

a collage of images

GET INVOLVED!: We look forward to seeing you in 2024 for more events – if you represent a community group and would like to get involved, please contact Samantha Nicholas at s.nicholas@highweald.org

Congratulations to all that made the Wild About Dark Skies Festival a great success:

And to Sussex Lund for supporting the events.

View all news