International Dark Sky Designation

Free Stargazing Event

The next Dark Sky evening at Jamaica Inn will take place on Saturday 17th February 2018, led by Caradon Observatory. It will be in three parts:

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  • A free stargazing session from 6.30pm
  • A dinner event at 7pm – carvery and dessert for £16.50 per person
  • Another free stargazing session from 8.30pm onwards

There’s no need to book in advance for the free stargazing sessions but please call Jamaica Inn on 01566 86250 to book the dinner.

The first free stargazing session will start at 6.30pm with an array of telescopes, including a 12 inch telescope on loan from First Light Optics in Exeter. Weather permitting, there will be the opportunity to see Orion the hunter, one of the best known constellations in the winter sky.

The dinner event starts at 7.00pm and will include an introduction to Bodmin Moor’s International Dark Sky Landscape designation and a talk on star formation in Orion with examples of stellar nurseries, nebulae and stars that will one day go supernova. There will also be a chance to see the Magic Planet, an interactive globe that depicts the topography of planets, and a question and answer session.

Outside observing will continue after the dinner event at 8.30pm with further opportunities to see Orion, which includes two of the brightest stars in the night sky, Rigel and Betelgeuse. People should wrap up warm and keep their fingers crossed for clear skies. 

This event supports the International Dark Sky Landscape designation by providing educational outreach and engagement.

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 (this version has updated links).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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, Planning Policy Team, Pydar House, Pydar Street, Truro  TR1 1XU