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North York Moors snatch the Milky Way at first British ‘Dark Sky’ village

A village in North Yorkshire is dimming its lights to become the country’s first designated ‘Dark Sky’ residential area to give stargazers a better view of the Milky Way.

The village of Hornby on the North York Moors now has all external lighting and Switching to “dark sky friendly” streetlights so that you can see the night sky clearly.

The project will include over 100 lighting changes at 30 properties, including new lighting in local pubs and village halls.

According to North York Moors National Park, this means it was the first British village to convert not only all lighting in public spaces, but all street lighting and lighting on its property.

Nearby Yorkshire Dales National Park will also fund and switch three businesses, including a hotel and station inn near the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct. Funds to install 19 new directional LED lights.

Hannah Kaye, Dark Sky Project Manager at Yorkshire Dales National Park, says there are many benefits to switching to the new lighting, including helping wildlife and the well-being of residents who need true darkness.

Owner of the Station Inn Pub, Claire Hobbs, says the change has led to an increase in off-season visitors, and she now regularly does evening stargazing throughout the week.

North York Moors and The Yorkshire Dales have recently become an important spot for stargazers, both areas have secured Dark Sky status in 2020. This status means that these areas offer “unique natural darkness” and “great views of the starry sky”.

To secure this status, regions must go through a rigorous application process and only 21 regions worldwide can secure this status. The two national parks also host the annual Dark Skies Festival.

Mike Hawtin, North York Moors National Park’s Dark Sky Officer, said: When the project is completed later this year, the village will go one step further by transforming both the street and the exterior lighting of the building.

“We’re definitely not anti-lights, as we need them for a variety of reasons, such as simply unlocking front doors or operating machinery at night.

“The steps required to prevent light nuisance are as simple as changing the angle of the floodlight to cast a strong glare into the dark valley so no rays are wasted.”

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