Families are being invited to spend an evening under the stars as Exmoor National Park gets ready for its first ever Dark Skies Big Adventure this Saturday (19 October, 2-8pm) at the National Trust’s Webbers Post. There is no need to book; just turn up!
The National Park are also teaming up with Plastic Free North Devon in an effort to make it a plastic-free Big Adventure by cutting out all single-use plastic. People are being encouraged to bring their own mugs and plates for hot drinks and baked potatoes, which will be available to purchase on the night.
The free event will see activities running throughout the afternoon and into the evening geared at helping families experience the magic of Exmoor’s night skies – some of the darkest in the country thanks to its status as an International Dark Sky Reserve. It forms part of the third Exmoor Dark Skies Festival, which continues until 3 November and is sponsored by rural broadband provider Airband.
Exmoor National Park Education Officer Patrick Watts-Mabbott, who will be leading the event, said: “The song ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ is likely to bring back fond memories of childhood, but how many of us have seen the milky way, constellations and shooting stars against the backdrop of a truly dark sky? It’s a magical experience and we look forward to welcoming everyone to Webbers Post for a Dark Skies Big Adventure this Saturday.”
Activities include a fun afternoon of den-building and wildlife spotting with help from National Park staff and the Exmoor Natural History Society. Then gather around the campfire as the sun goes down for storytelling and to cook a snack, or enjoy food brought from home. As dark sets in, National Park staff will be leading a guided walk to search for glowing fungi in the woods and listen out for stags roaring. Afterwards there’ll be just time to get help spotting sights in the night sky before its time to head home.
Other family-focused events during the Festival include a roving planetarium, space-themed craft and poetry sessions with author Peta Rainsford, nocturnal wildlife at the Exmoor Pony Centre and an Astroparty at Wimbleball Lake. For details see www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/darkskiesfestival, pick up a programme from National Park Centres in Dulverton, Dunster or Lynmouth or call 01598 752509, open 7 days a week.