Stargazing in the forest

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, who 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.


View of the Milky Way over Kielder Water Forest Park

In addition astronomy events are being held at 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:

New Moon Stargazing at Gisburn Dark Sky Discovery Site

Gisburn Forest Hub, Near Tosside, BB7

Tonight is the New Moon so there should be great opportunity to travel through the constellations and along the Milky Way. Following an indoor presentation there will be powerful telescopes for you to gaze through, all operated by experienced...

Sunday 26th February 2017 from 19:30pm to 22:30pm

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.

Startrails over Kielder Campsite

Startrails over Kielder Campsite

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.

Moon Walk at Haldon Forest Park

Haldon Forest Park - Forestry Commission, Exeter, EX6 7XR

Visit Haldon Forest Park for this fantastic family stargazing event! There'll be lots of activities along the self-led discovery trail including tunnels and soundbox stations to listen to night time animals, a campfire with marshmallow toasting...

Saturday 25th March 2017 from 18:30pm to 20:00pm

The Forestry Commission have 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

Stargazing Events Map

Looking for an organised stargazing event near you? View a map of forthcoming events.

Stargazing Events Calendar

Find future stargazing events using this handy calendar.

Stargazing Location Map

Search for a great place to stargaze using our comprehensive map of stargazing locations.

Dark Skies Calendar

Thinking of travelling to a dark sky site? Check the best dates with our easy to use dark sky calendar.

First Man Festival

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Apollo moon landing at our family friendly weekend stargazing festival this July!

Astronomy Equipment

We recommend First Light Optics for their wide range of astronomy products and excellent customer service...

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