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Station Inn Ribblesdale with dark sky friendly external lighting

Businesses install dark sky friendly lighting

Monday 13 March, 2023, by News Release

Four prominently-located Dales businesses have received grants from the National Park Authority to cover the cost of introducing dark skies-friendly lighting.

The Station Inn in Upper Ribblesdale, near to the iconic Ribblehead viaduct, has installed 19 directional and well-placed exterior LED lights, significantly reducing glare and helping to make the surroundings perfect for astrotourism.

The other three businesses to install dark skies-friendly lighting are The Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes, including the Visitor Centre; the Stone House Hotel in Upper Wensleydale and the Yorebridge Sport and Leisure on the edge of the village of Askrigg.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park – and its near neighbour the North York Moors National Park – achieved International Dark Sky Reserve status in December 2020. Since then both have embarked on a comprehensive programme of monitoring artificial light levels, providing lighting guidance on their websites as well as working with councils, businesses and residents to advise and provide grant-funding for those looking to change their exterior lights. 

The publican at the Station Inn, Claire Hobbs, said:  “We have been delighted with the very positive difference to our business that the International Dark Sky Reserve designation has brought about.  By working with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and the Dark Skies initiative we have not only had support to make the inn ‘Dark Sky friendly’, with modifications to our outdoor lighting, but we also had support in terms of promotions and access to astronomers.  

“We are now running regular star gazing evenings and incredibly each is a sell-out irrespective of whether they’re midweek or weekend events. This is generating much needed trade in the always tricky off-season.”

Hannah Kay, Dark Skies Project Manager for the Yorkshire Dales National Park added: “There are so many benefits to swapping to dark skies friendly lighting, particularly as newer appropriately angled low power LED warm light technology can reduce energy consumption. Beyond that, research has shown just how much wildlife needs true darkness, whether it’s night pollinating moths or birds roosting. There’s also the benefit to our own wellbeing and of course, the wonderment that comes from seeing a dark sky which is filled with thousands of stars.”

The next Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors Dark Skies Fringe Festival takes place 27 October to 5 November. Dark Skies Festival: Dark Skies Festival

In the North York Moors, an entire village is helping to lead the way in efforts to curb light pollution.  Mexborough Estates is part-way through a project, working closely with the North York Moors National Park, to switch to dark skies-friendly exterior lighting for every property and street light in Hawnby near Helmsley.

Mike Hawtin, the Dark Skies Officer for the North York Moors National Park Authority explained: “A recent study concluded that people worldwide now see less stars with the naked eye due to skyglow caused by artificial lighting. We’re aiming to show how relatively easy it can be for communities to take a similar approach to the one at Hawnby and help us protect the pristine qualities of our dark skies.

“There are a few other places in Wales and Scotland which have converted street lights to become dark sky friendly towns or villages, but we think Hawnby will be the first village to go even further by converting both street and external building lighting when the project completes later this year.  

“We’re definitely not anti-light as it is needed for many different reasons, whether simply for unlocking your front door or operating machinery at night. The steps needed to prevent light nuisance can be as simple as altering the angle of a floodlight to ensure no rays are wasted by casting a harsh glare down an otherwise dark valley.”

External lighting guidance is published on the Yorkshire Dales National Park website:   Good lighting advice

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News Release

Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority


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