Our guest blog this week from Wanderlust Camper Co’s Annah Todman.
The UK has some of the largest areas of dark sky in Europe. It’s possible to see around 100 stars in your own back garden, subject to light conditions, however, how about immersing yourself in a dark sky with over 1,000 stars? How about spotting the Milky Way across the night sky?
If you’re looking for a break with a difference, a real escape from every day life, a digital detox – a break under the vibrant stars at a Dark Skies spot is the perfect option. A break with a campervan under the stars could be just the thing! Combine a campervan break (you can always hire if you don’t have one!), combined with a unique experience of star-gazing for a magical break. With a little planning on the perfect place to pitch up to star-gaze, guests can tailor make a truly unique campervan star-gazing experience, using the information and tips provided.
The UK now has more certified international dark-sky places (DSP) than any other country outside the USA. The UK has three Dark-Sky Parks; Northumberland National Park, Elan Valley Estate (Wales) and Galloway Forest Park (Scotland) and a handful of Dark-Sky Reserves, including Brecon Beacons National Park, Exmoor National Park, Snowdonia National Park and the South Down National Park.
With Wanderlust Camper Co’s HQ perfectly situated on the gateway to Wales, it’s only natural for focus to be on the dark spots in the beautiful countryside of Wales and Wales is lucky enough to have not one, but two Dark Sky Reserves.
Wanderlust Camper Co include many tops tips for their Starry Dark Skies experience suggestions within their website. As an overview, Wales’ two dark sky reserves are within the Brecon Beacons National Park and Snowdonia National Park. There are a few hot spots for setting up for an evening of star gazing, such as the ruins of Llanthony Priory, and Carreg Cennen Castle. Usk Reservoir also offers excellent star gazing opportunity in a magical setting. Within Snowdonia National Park, there are several lakes (llyn in Welsh) that offer great star gazing spots, such as Llyn y Dywarchen located above the village of Drws y Coed in Dyffryn Nantlle, near Rhyd Ddu, Llyn Geirionnydd which is situated in the Gwydir Forest, above Betws y Coed and the Llynnau Cregennen lakes, on the foot hills of Cader Idris.
Elan Valley, in Wales is a Dark Sky Park. There are several good spots to star gaze, around Cwmdauddwr Common, where the Northern Lights were seen in 2016, and Graig Goch and Claerwen Dam car parks.
Wales also offers three Dark Sky discovery sites, starting off at Rhondda Cynon Taf, around an hour or so drive from Wanderlust HQ, whilst the others spread further to the west Wales, in Llandeilo and Pembrokeshire.
Wanderlust Camper Co’s website provides more details on where these dark spots are, some useful hints and tips on making the best star-gazing opportunities and a round up of some lovely campsites to pitch up at, off the beaten track. Take a look at www.wanderlustcamperco.com