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All the fun of the Dark Skies Fringe Festival (22-31 October) and a reminder that pristine night skies are worth protecting

Rosedale Milky Way by Tony MarshRosedale Milky Way by Tony Marsh

The North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Parks’ Dark Skies Fringe Festival returns this half-term (22-31 October) after the success of the first autumn event last year.

Within the North York Moors National Park, visitors will be able to enjoy a programme of events, including some online – from stargazing safaris, guided night walks and astrophotography evenings through to zip wire adventures and a ride on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway’s Light Spectacular steam train.

The Festival will also act as a reminder that everybody can help protect the pristine night skies, not just for the benefit of people’s wellbeing but also safeguarding nocturnal wildlife.

In particular Mike Hawtin, the North York Moors National Park Dark Skies Officer, will share the National Park’s own journey to achieving International Dark Sky Reserve status last year and future plans.

He will also outline the steps that everybody can take to curb artificial light pollution, even if it is simply adjusting exterior lighting on homes and business premises to reduce glare

Milky Way by Steve Bell

Underlining this important message, stargazing and walking evenings will reveal the night-time splendour at natural beauty spots such as Mallyan Spout waterfall, the dramatic escarpment of Sutton Bank and the Wainstones sandstone crags.

Historic landmarks like the abbeys at Rievaulx, Byland and Whitby and Gilling Castle near Ampleforth will also act as stunning backdrops while visitors have their eyes opened to the delights of the night sky.

Perennial favourites such as the twilight zip wire experience at Dalby Forest, a smuggler’s walk at Robin Hood’s Bay, together with mindfulness meanders and night navigation hikes at various locations are also included in this year’s line-up.

For youngsters, there are also daytime activities at Sutton Bank and The Moors National Park Centre at Danby where they can learn more about nocturnal wildlife including joining a storyteller under the Story Tree to listen to tales of stars, bats and badgers.

Mike Hawtin, Dark Skies Officer for the North York Moors National Park, comments: “We’re keen for everybody visiting the Fringe Festival to have fun and revel in being outside after-dark, but there is a serious message to take away as well – that we can all do our bit to protect our night skies.

“It might seem trivial to adjust the angle of external LED lighting or fit motion sensors but collectively if we all take these small, simple steps, we can make a huge difference against the detrimental impact of light blight and all enjoy starrier skies.”

For the full programme and booking details for this year’s Dark Skies Fringe Festival


Media contacts

Amanda Brown on M: 07876 452580 or email:


Nina Beadle
Communications Officer, North York Moors National Park Authority
01439 772700

North York Moors National Park

The North York Moors is a beautiful landscape of stunning moorland, ancient woodland and historic sites. Created on 28 November 1952 it became Britain’s sixth national park. Covering an area of 554 square miles (1,436 square kilometres) the National Park has 26 miles of coastline, two national nature reserves, 840 Scheduled Monuments and over 3,000 listed buildings, attracting an estimated 8.4 million visitors a year.

The National Park has two visitor centres, The Moors National Park Centre, Danby and Sutton Bank National Park Centre, providing opportunities for cycling, walking, eating, picnicking, shopping, crafts and wildlife-watching. The centre in Danby also houses the Inspired by… gallery, which features regularly changing exhibitions by artists who draw their inspiration from the North York Moors.

The North York Moors National Park Authority works with a wide variety of people to care for this beautiful corner of Yorkshire, providing apprenticeships and volunteering opportunities with nearly 14% of staff being apprentices from local families.

To view other press releases and for further information about the North York Moors National Park, visit