Spending time in the countryside is one of the last few free pleasures in life, you simply can’t beat wandering through the acres of forest that our beautiful countryside provides, perhaps wandering around sculpture trails or even just enjoying the local wildlife.
From early 2017 the Forestry Commission England, which runs most of England’s forest estate, is looking to encourage day visitors to stay on after normal hours by offering some night time options. They are opening up their forests for visitors to indulge in a spot of stargazing.
In addition, astronomy events are being held in forests across the country exploring the amazing world of stars and allowing everyone an after-dark adventure. We’ve listed as many of these events we can find — see our events map or event calendar to find events near you.
Go Stargazing’s very own Robert Ince is organising one of these events in support of the Forestry Commission:
At events like these, experienced astronomers will have their telescopes set up for you to look through and will be your guides, explaining what you can see and pointing things out for you.
If you don’t want to attend a managed event, why not try the ‘Why Stars Matter’ self-led trails, where you can find marked trails and information boards with fun facts about stargazing and how stars support the forests, making it the perfect after-school activity.
The Forestry Commission has also teamed up with the Met Office, so you can check out the daily cloud cover for all the participating forests, using their stargazing map. You can even submit your night sky photos into a photo competition for a chance to win £100 in Amazon vouchers (competition ends 26 March 2017).
So, why not give it a go? The forest really isn’t scary at night — tell someone where you are going and be prepared with torches, warm clothes and hot refreshments — the wow of the night sky will make up for any spooky noises…
Find out more at http://www.forestry.gov.uk/stargazing