Cley Night Sky

DARK SKIES IN NORTH NORFOLK

North Norfolk is one of the few places in the UK where you can see the northern lights, or aurora borealis. Two sites have Dark Sky Discovery Status, which means the area is unaffected by light pollution, ideal for star gazing.

ENJOYING THE DARK SKIES OF NORTH NORFOLK

The Norfolk coast, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, boasts some of the darkest skies in the country. People are attracted to north Norfolk for its peacefulness, and the darkness plays a key part in creating this tranquility. The lack of artificial light helps the coast retain its rural character, while the darkness creates a closeness to the surrounding natural landscape.

As Norfolk is a rural county, industrial activity is sparse, meaning there are less pollutants pumped into the air which can lead to a serious reduction in the clarity of the night sky. As a result, clear night skies in north Norfolk allow visitors an unrivalled view of the night sky. 

In recognition of the incredible dark skies on the coast, two sites within north Norfolk's Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty have been awarded Dark Sky Discovery Site status. Wiveton Downs and Kelling Heath Holiday Park have both met the strict criteria set by the UK Dark Sky Discovery Partnership, meaning these sites are away from local light pollution, have good sightlines of the sky and have good public access, including firm ground for wheelchairs. 

These dark sky sites are one of the few places in the UK where you can see the northern lights, or aurora borealis. Both sites have the highest accolade of being designated ‘two star’ sites - where the seven stars of the Orion constellation and the Milky Way (the combined light from the millions of stars in our Galaxy) are visible to the naked eye. Star gazers are also able to search around the many dark rifts from huge interstellar dust clouds, search out elusive galaxies they have never seen before and enjoy crystal clear views of our planetary neighbours.

UK astronomers take advantage of the dark skies above Kelling Heath Holiday park, by organising twice yearly star parties which are attended by hundreds of astronomers from all over the country. The autumn event held during September is thought to be the largest star party in Europe. Dark skies can be enjoyed by anyone. Just wrap up warm, take a flask and your binoculars and enjoy the wonder of the skies above.

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