This annual festival which celebrates Exmoor as a Dark Skies Reserve, will be kicking off on 13th October and running through to 29th with a series of over 60 events for all ages.
The festival will kick off in Tiverton on 13th October with an astronomy lecture about galaxies, stars, black holes and the James Webb Space Telescope presented by Professor Roger Davies from Oxford University. He will be joined by Dan James from the National Park Authority inspiring people to visit Exmoor for breathtaking stargazing experiences.
Katrina Munro, the organiser of the Exmoor Dark Skies Festival, said: “We have events at lots of different venues around the National Park. Whether Exmoor’s dark skies inspire you to decorate a cake, or make you want to walk the perimeter of Wimbleball Lake under the light of a full moon, there really is something for everyone.
"New for this year are E-Bike night rides arranged by Exmoor Adventures in Porlock and the Exmoor Star Baker competition, also in Porlock. There are several guided wellbeing night walks from Lynton to the iconic Valley of Rocks with Mother Moon. Wildlife lovers might enjoy a dusk safari, an indoor nocturnal wildlife presentation at the Royal Oak, Withypool or family events at the Exmoor Pony Centre.”
Popular astronomer Jo Richardson is also hosting events. You might recognise her as a regular presenter at Exmoor Dark Sky Discovery Hub at the Poltimore Inn at North Molton, where they have an observatory with numerous telescopes and events during the festival and all year round.
For creative children, there are watercolour painting sessions at Lynmouth and the Star Baker competition at Porlock during half term, as well as the chance to enter this year’s festival competition. Children aged up to 16 years are invited to enter a painting or drawing inspired by Exmoor's dark skies to win a Celestron Starsense Telescope.
The authority is taking the huge Space Odyssey mobile planetarium to Tiverton on 17th October and Dunster on 21st October. The fully immersive sessions offer a spectacular 360-degree 3D digital dome experience giving a great way to learn about the skies above us and the universe, and are suitable for all ages.
Throughout the festival, participants will be able to take home a free copy of the new Exmoor Dark Skies Pocket Guide which contains hints and tips on the best locations to stargaze in the National Park and what to look for in the night sky.
The Exmoor Dark Skies Festival, sponsored by Airband, runs from 13-29 October. Visit www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/darkskiesfestival for a full list of events, or pick up a printed programme from a National Park Centre at Dunster, Dulverton or Lynmouth.