Dark Skies & Stargazing

Dark Skies and Star Gazing in the North Pennines

The North Pennines are within an area of outstanding natural beauty and boast some of the darkest skies in England. The area is rugged and remote, with wild countryside and little residential and commercial development. The views of the night sky are truly outstanding, especially during the winter when the constellation of Orion can be seen from almost everywhere. There are clear views of the Milky Way which can, in more remote locations, be seen with naked eye.

If you live in, or close to, the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and UNESCO Global Geopark, this wonderful new facility in the Allen Valleys will enable you to take full advantage of being in a recognised dark skies area. Somewhere to meet regularly to learn about the night sky and gaze at our remarkable local ‘darkscape’.

Stargazing is a hobby that can be as simple, or as complicated, as you want. Without any specialist equipment, you can enjoy the night sky. Binoculars bring fainter objects into view, and a telescope allows to you see deeper, and further into our universe. Gary Lintern of the North Pennines Astronomy Society will provide an informative guide to the night sky in


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“In recognition of its spectacular dark skies, the North Pennines AONB Partnership has worked with Edinburgh Observatory to designate 16 official Dark Sky Discovery Sites – more than any other Protected Landscape in the UK. Each of these locations has been recognised as a fantastic place for amateur and professional astronomers to stargaze.”www.darkskydiscovery.org.uk


As part of a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) award for their Allen Valley Landscape Partnership Scheme, the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership (AONB) identified an opportunity to develop a Community Observatory project in Allenheads. Acting as an educational tool and introduction to science in the landscape the proposal was to establish a telescope position to take advantage of the dark skies over the village of Allenheads and a student competition was run for the design and development of the protective building for the telescope and its outbuilding. This building which is located at The Old Schoolhouse in Allenheads and opened in 2017. This Community Observatory houses a telescope.

For more information or to book an event/become a member go to www.northpennobservatory.org.uk/