Dark skies above Lady Hill near Askrigg in the Yorkshire Dales. Photo: James Allinson

Dark skies above Lady Hill near Askrigg in the Yorkshire Dales. Photo: James Allinson

Organisers of the upcoming Dark Skies Festival in some of England’s national parks have arranged extra events to cope with increased demand.

The festival is being run jointly by the Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors, Northumberland and South Downs national parks, to encourage visitors to enjoy the night skies in some of the country’s darkest areas.

Events in the Yorkshire Dales include including stargazing trips, an off-road running adventure, a nocturnal animals woodland trail, and photography classes, all run by local businesses and groups or the park authority.

Tracey Lambert, one of the Yorkshire Dales authority organisers, said: “There is a lot going on, with festival events being held by local businesses and also ourselves at our national park centres. Interest in the events has been amazing.

“The Yorkshire Dales national park is one of the darkest places in England. That’s part of what makes it such a special place.

“This festival is all about connecting people with our starry skies and helping local businesses tap into ‘astro-tourism’. I hope as many people as possible are able to join in.”

The Dark Skies Festival will run from 9 to 25 February across the four national parks.

Two of the most recently added Dales events are in Sedbergh. On Monday 19 February in the People’s Hall professional photographer David Forknall will speak on ‘Photographing the Dark Skies above Sedbergh’. Two nights later at the same venue, astronomer and journalist Richard Darn will give a talk entitled ‘A Voyage around the Universe’.

Details are available on the Dark Skies website.

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