International Dark Sky Designation

Success: Bodmin Moor is designated an International Dark Sky Landscape

The International Dark-Sky Association has officially designated Bodmin Moor as an International Dark Sky Landscape. This follows an application prepared by Cornwall Council and Caradon Observatory.

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Caradon Observatory will be running a Dark Sky evening on Saturday 19th August at Jamaica Inn. The talks will focus on meteors, meteorites and planets (including exoplanets). Weather allowing, Jupiter will be visible on the western horizon with Saturn due south and then Neptune rising in the east. If it’s clear there will be the opportunity to look through a couple of large telescopes. If you’ve never seen Saturn through a large telescope you’re in for a real treat – it’s absolutely beautiful! Come along at 7pm for the dinner event or at 8.30pm for free stargazing.

Recent light readings show the quality of the night sky over Bodmin Moor is amongst the best in the world. The purpose of achieving a designation is to capture the wide-ranging benefits of conserving this natural asset including:

  • Scientific advantages – enabling enhanced conditions for astronomy;
  • Educational outreach – facilitating both formal education (at all levels) and more informal activities;
  • Enjoyment and appreciation – improving quality of life and provide creative inspiration;
  • Health – promoting improved sleep patterns and reducing stress;
  • Wildlife – providing a more natural environment for both nocturnal and diurnal animals; and
  • Energy efficiency – reducing wastage from unnecessary or excessive lighting.

We want to encourage people who live and/or work on the Moor to manage lighting better and make sure it does what it needs to without harming the night sky.

Nevertheless we will not make anyone change their lights. We all need to see what we’re doing and feel safe as we go about our business. Too often however lighting is overly bright, needlessly spills upwards, poorly aimed and creates shadows – making it harder to see as well as being wasteful and harmful to the night sky. Well considered light can be much more effective.

We’ll produce a quick guide for Dark Sky friendly lighting for when fitting new lights or replacing old. We will encourage:

  • Installing lights that point down not up;
  • Turning lights off when they aren’t needed, maybe use a timer; and
  • Only lighting where you need to.

The Core Area is the extent of Bodmin Moor which is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). There is also a 2 mile Buffer Zone around this in which good lighting practice will also be encouraged and where communities are also expected to reap some of the benefits.

Both Cornwall Council street lighting and Highways England trunk road lighting have been assessed as part of this project. Cornwall Council lighting has been upgraded across the county as part of the Invest to Save scheme which has improved efficiency and reduced light pollution. We are also looking at where additional adjustments to street lighting would be appropriate on Bodmin Moor.

A list of frequently asked questions has been produced based on discussions with members of the public and other stakeholders.

Please email us at to subscribe to our electronic newsletters.  Past newsletters are available to download below:. Past newsletters are available to download below.

If you have any queries or comments you can email us at or write to us using the address below.

Dark Sky Bid, Cornwall Council, Local Plan Team, Pydar House, Pydar Street, Truro  TR1 1XU

Good lighting practice is encouraged across Cornwall. There are also community-led efforts underway for an international designation for west Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. View their Dark Skies Facebook page.