This UK nature reserve has been named as one of world's best stargazing spots

Sometimes you’re lucky if you can see more than a few stars in a light-polluted sky.

To make sure everyone could get a clear view, residents in Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (ANOB), which covers Wiltshire, Dorset, Hampshire and Somerset, have been turning lights off at night.

And their efforts have paid off as the area is the first entire AONB in the UK to become an official dark sky reserve, awarded by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA).

The organisation celebrates ‘exceptionally starry skies’ and only places where the Milky Way is visible to the unaided eye become dark sky reserves.

It’s the 14th dark sky reserve across the world and it took them 10 years to achieve the status.

Adam Dalton, International Dark-Sky Places Program Manager at the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), said: ‘Cranborne Chase has the largest central area of darkness of any International Dark-Sky Reserve in the UK. It is a huge area of land at almost 1000 sq kms, and less than two hours from London and Bristol.

Other dark sky reserves across the world

Aoraki Mackenzie (New Zealand)

Brecon Beacons National Park (Wales)

Central Idaho (U.S.)

Cévennes National Park (France)

National Park Exmoor (England)

Kerry (Ireland)

Mont-Megantic (Canada)

Moore’s Reserve (South Downs, England)

Nature Reserve NamibRand (Namibia)

Pic du Midi (France)

Rhon (Germany)

Snowdonia National Park (Wales)

Westhavelland (Germany)

‘For those living and visiting this beautiful area, this is something to be celebrated and enjoyed.’

Linda Nunn, Director of Cranborne Chase AONB added: ‘We think of our beautiful landscapes as being on the ground, but 50% of our landscape is above our heads, in the sky.

‘The quality of our night sky is so important and this isn’t just for the benefit of astronomers.

‘There are huge benefits for nocturnal wildlife, our own human health and wellbeing, for education, tourism and for energy saving. We’re thrilled to be playing our part.’

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