Dark Skies over Ribblehead viaduct

A2 – Tranquillity

A2.  Maintain the National Park as a place where a true sense of tranquillity, remoteness and solitude can be found, and, by 2021, obtain Dark Skies Reserve status to enhance and promote enjoyment of its night sky. (An international Dark Sky Reserve is land accredited by the International Dark-Sky Association as possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural, heritage and/or public enjoyment.)

Rationale:  Dark night skies are one of the special qualities of the National Park.  Working towards a ‘Dark Skies’ designation has been strongly supported through the Parish Forums and at the National Park Management Plan Forum in 2017.  The designation process would lead to advice and support for individuals, businesses and organisations looking to reduce light pollution as well as a programme of activities to encourage enjoyment of the night skies by locals and visitors.

Lead partnerYorkshire Dales National Park Authority

Supporting partnersNorth Yorkshire County Council; Cumbria County Council; Lancashire County Council; Craven District Council; Eden District Council; Richmondshire District Council; South Lakeland District Council; Parish Councils

Further information:  YDNPA website; Dark Sky Discovery website;

Cost over 5 years:  £100,000

Funding shortfall: None

Related objectives: A3; E2

Ecosystem services: Sense of place and inspiration; tranquillity; recreation

Trade-offs:  Creating a ‘Dark Sky Reserve’ could potentially restrict opportunities for some types of development for tourism (E2) and farming (E9), especially in the more remote, undeveloped parts of the National Park.  However, the policies in the Yorkshire Dales Local Plan are already sufficient to comply with designation.

Baseline: YDNP is the fourth darkest local authority area in England. 79% of night skies fall in the darkest category.

Progress: Local volunteers have carried out light readings across the National Park to help identify the proposed Reserve area. Hoping to submit application for International Dark Sky Reserve status in July 2020.


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