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Dark Skies Reserve

By 14th August 2018 No Comments

Dark Skies Magic

We were so gutted that it was a cloudy night for the recent ‘blood moon’.  However, despite the cloud, many of our campers commented  on the beautiful night sky.  One camper (on a trip to the facilities at 1am) was lucky enough to see some of the huge moon and said that it was actually bright enough to cast a shadow!

We mustn’t really complain about a bit of cloud because here at Holden Farm we are incredibly lucky to be have had many a clear night this summer and being within an International Dark Sky Reserve we often get an amazing view of the night sky.

International Dark Sky Reserve

In May 2016, the South Downs National Park became one of only a few Dark Sky Reserves across the globe.  This means our little area of the world has been regarded as having an exceptional view of the starry night sky.  Proper dark skies are under threat from light pollution and by becoming a reserve the South Downs National Park, and the landowners within it (like us!) are committed to protecting the beauty of a properly dark sky at night.

Primarily, the National Park works with developers to ensure dark skies lighting regulations are met when new developments are built nearby, as well as replacing current lighting that does not fit the criteria.…so, there won’t be any street lamps guiding your drive to us any time soon!

How to enjoy the dark nights

Here at Holden Farm, you will have a wonderful opportunity to enjoy staying up late and seeing the most wonderful collection of stars and planets, as well as the moon.  Sat around on of our fire pits, you will be able to enjoys its warmth whilst gazing at the sky above.

Give your eyes time to adjust – staring just at the sky and not a screen light or torch – and you will see the millions of stars unveiled before you.

Being in the South of England we have some of the easy to spot constellations, including the ‘Big Dipper’ or ‘Plough’.  Obviously, there are plenty of books available to help with your star gazing or if you want to take a more modern approach … download one of the clever ‘sky map’ and stargazing apps available.

The South Downs National Park has also created a useful leaflet for more information – take a look here.

Finally, do keep an eye (and ear) out for our Barn Owls.  Truly dark nights encourage nocturnal animals to go about their ‘natural business’ more readily, meaning we are fortunate enough to see them out hunting on a regular basis.  Only last week a family camping had a hedgehog at their feet and a barn owl hunting above them.

Book your stay with us and come and enjoy our dark skies…who knows, you may even see a shooting star!