Forestry Commission logo

Dark sky at night, a forest's delight!

This news story is now over a year old and information may no longer be accurate or up-to-date. It might also contain obsolete links.
Please use our search link on the left to look for more recent information.
Stargazing, trees

Top forest stargazing spots

Forestry Commission England is opening up forests after-dark for visitors to indulge in a spot of stargazing.

Stargazing brings science alive for children and, free from light pollution; our forests are the perfect place to experience the night skies, whether you’re a beginner or an expert!

Five of our forests have achieved Dark Sky Discovery status; with some of the darkest skies in the UK it makes them a must-see location for star spotting.

Astronomy events will be held at forests across the country exploring the amazing world of stars and allowing everyone an after-dark adventure.

Along with the exciting programme of events, visitors to our forests can try the ‘Why stars matter’ self-led trails, where you will be amazed by fun facts about stargazing and how stars support our forests, making it the perfect after-school activity.

In partnership with the Met Office, you’ll be able to check out the daily cloud cover for all our participating forests, using our stargazing map. Along with BBC Sky at Night Magazine, the Forestry Commission has produced a Beginner’s Guide to Stargazing in the Forest with top tips on how to stargaze, different formations to look for and how to navigate using the stars.

For budding photographers, there are tips on taking night sky photos and you can submit your photos into our photo competition for a chance to win £100 in Amazon vouchers.

For more information please visit 

Our top stargazing sites

Kielder Forest and Observatory

The home of the UK’s most famous observatory and within the fourth largest Dark Skies Park in the world, Kielder has a fantastic line-up of stargazing events from January – March including Astronomy Photography, Aurora Nights, Family Astronomy and Night Sky Safari.

To book visit

Hamsterley Forest

An evening of stargazing and observing through large telescopes with local amateur astronomer Neill Sanders. Hamsterley Forest has Dark Sky Discovery Status offering visitors a fantastic spot to explore the night skies.

Grizedale Forest

Celebrate Valentine’s Day at the ‘Valentines under the stars event’ on 14 Feb exploring Grizedale after dark with professional astronomers. Book here.

Dalby Forest

Join Scarborough & Ryedale's Astronomical Society public stargazing sessions on Friday 3 February 2017 and Friday 3 March 2017.  

Sherwood Pines

Learn how to observe stars, the equipment you need and the basics of astrophotography at Astronomy in the Forest event on 27th Jan.


Notes to editors

Media Contact: Emily Beaumont on 0300 067 4107 or

  1. Forestry Commission England is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Further information can be found at
Forestry Commission Discovery Passes vary in price from £20-£50 for annual membership. For more information visit