West Cornwall may become a Dark Sky Reserve

February 27th, 2017

A night of stargazing in Cornwall may become easier if a campaign to turn a large part of the county into a Dark Sky Reserve is successful. Along with the beaches, historical sites and gourmet food, Cornwall is becoming a great place to head to for astronomers as the clear skies are ideal for catching sight of the stars.

Chairman of Towednack Parish Council and Zennor Parish councillors Kevin Hughes and John Brookes have been working over the last year to register West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly as a Dark Sky Reserve.

Councillor Hughes said about the campaign, “Those dark skies have already been there for the past 2000 or 3000 years. It is about protecting what we’ve got; it’s not an environmental project where you’re going to clean up a beach and put right what mankind has done – this is already there, it’s already dark.”

The campaign has already received support from several organisations such as the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at Cornwall Council, the Protection of Rural England, the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, the Duchy of Cornwall, the Penwith Landscape Partnership and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

Cornwall has also been designated as the fourth darkest place in England. Councillor Hughes said, “We want to preserve that, there is some light pollution from places like Penzance and that can be addressed.

“As street lighting gets changed as it wears out, new environmentally friendly lighting goes in, that doesn’t produce light up, just down. We’re not going to be turning lights off – this is about protecting what we’ve got.

“West Cornwall is so special because we have the moors, so there are tiny little houses and not street lighting, it’s already dark.

“The Isles of Scilly has got this protection as ‘discovery sites’; what we want to do is register west Cornwall with the international dark sky community.”

If the campaign is successful, it will mean west Cornwall will have the same protection as Exmoor, the Brecon Beacons and parts of the Lake District.

The Dark Sky Reserve recognition will also benefit winter tourism to the popular destination of Cornwall, which sees crowds well in the summer, as it will bring ‘dark sky tourism’ to the area, as well as being a huge benefit to wildlife of Cornwall.

The next part of the campaign is to get public support.

Our 5-star family resort, Falmouth, is an ideal location for a holiday throughout the year and is close by to many popular attractions, including West Cornwall.

Image by Jules G