Opening Times

Menu Close

Bowland’s night skies get star billing at festival

By the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times

From dark sky glamping and astrophotography to starry stories and a pop-up planetarium, Bowland’s first Dark Skies Festival has its gaze firmly upwards.

The Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has been officially recognised as having some of the darkest skies in England – a fact being celebrated next month with a week of special events during half term.


Hetty Byrne, Sustainable Tourism Officer for the AONB, said: “Light pollution means that truly dark skies are becoming increasingly rare. With our Dark Skies Festival we want people to discover the magical sight of the planets and constellations visible above Bowland. The longer nights of winter are good for star gazing and, given the right conditions, you can feast your eyes on everything from the Plough to the Milky Way!”

Running from Saturday, February 16th, until Sunday, February 24th, the themed week includes guided star gazing and astrophotography with local amateur astronomer, Robert Ince; the chance to book into one of Bentham Golf Club’s glamping pods or lodges and search the dark skies until the wee hours; wrap up warm and listen to nocturnal tales with storyteller, Sue Allonby and an invitation to step inside Yorkshire Planetarium’s mobile dome for night-sky films with the wow factor.

“Bowland is beautiful during the day,” said Hetty, “but seeing its star-filled skies at night is a fantastic experience. We advise early booking as the events are likely to be popular.”

The Forest of Bowland AONB is one of 46 AONBs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Visitors wanting to stay and explore the area for a little longer can choose from a number of Dark Sky Friendly businesses – many of them accommodation providers offering information about star gazing in Bowland.

More information about the Dark Skies Festival events can be found in the Festival Bowland 2019 programme available at or by contacting the Forest of Bowland AONB on 01200 448000.

Need a place to stay? The Shireburn Arms in Hurst Green is perfectly positioned on the edge of the AONB as a base for your trip, or simply pop in to eat and drink sat by the open fire. Take a look at the Shireburn Arms website here.

< Back to the blog archive