Dark Sky Discovery Sites

Dark Sky Discovery Sites

Some of the best places to see stars in the North Pennines have been designated as Dark Sky Discovery Sites.

There are more Dark Sky Discovery Sites in the North Pennines than anywhere else in the UK.

Nationally recognised

The initiative is part of an international programme to protect dark skies initiated by the International Dark Skies Association. Dark Sky Discovery Sites are nationally recognised places that are dark and easily accessible where it is easy to observe the Milky Way or the constellation of Orion with the naked eye.


The idea of the designation is to encourage public engagement with astronomy and physics through stargazing events and visits. We have worked with landowners and local authorities to nominate the top spots for stargazing, and the nominations are moderated by The Royal Observatory in Edinburgh.

Successful nominations

The North Pennines AONB Partnership has successfully nominated 16 sites across the North Pennines. Please visit and click the table below to find out more:

Dark Sky Discovery Site County
Allen Banks Northumberland
Allendale Golf Course Northumberland
Balderhead Reservoir Durham
Bowlees Visitor Centre Durham
Burnhope Reservoir Durham
Cow Green Reservoir Durham
Grassholme Reservoir Durham
Hamsterley Forest Durham
Hury Reservoir Durham
Millshields Durham
Parkhead Station Durham
Pow Hill Country Park Durham
RSPB Geltsdale – Clesketts Car Park Cumbria
Selset Reservoir Durham
Tan Hill Durham

Leaflets and guides

The Stargazing in the North Pennines leaflet (see related files) includes a map showing where our Dark Sky Discovery Sites are. Also visit Dark Sky Discovery for more information on the site. Alternatively this link – Dark Sky Discovery Sites Map – takes you directly to an interactive map.

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