EXMOOR’S spectacular starry skies will once again provide the backdrop for the region’s Dark Skies Festival, as bookings open for a second year. 

More than forty events are set to take place at venues across the National Park from October 20 to November 4 for everyone from seasoned stargazers to beginners and families.

Exmoor’s official status as an International Dark Sky Reserve means that the amount of light pollution within and around the National Park is tightly controlled, making it one of the best places in the country for stargazing.

Families looking to get out and about for half term, can immerse themselves in the wonders of the solar system in a touring pop up planetarium, enjoy a dark skies discovery night and astro party at Wimbleball Lake, join a Halloween and rocket building workshop in Dulverton, spot wildlife on a spooky night walk, camp out under the stars with the National Trust and much more.

Meanwhile grown up space enthusiasts can take part in in astrophotography workshops, guided night walks to see the Orionids meteor shower, night navigation experiences, dusk safaris, a cosmic-themed music concert and various expert astronomy talks. 

There are even events for adrenaline junkies to swim out on the moor or a take on a moonlit 5k or 10k run.

Exmoor National Park’s Katrina Munro, who is coordinating the festival, said: “Whether it’s the peace and tranquillity, the delight of seeing constellations, the Milky Way or shooting stars, or simply enjoying the darkness and the sounds of wildlife, it’s almost impossible not to be inspired by the wonders of the night sky and Exmoor is truly one of the best places in the country to experience it. 

“After many events sold out last year, this year’s festival will be even bigger, taking place across two weeks instead of one. 

“We hope as many people as possible will be able to join us for this celestial celebration.”

Pick up a free programme from National Park Centres in Lynmouth, Dunster or Dulverton or find it online at exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk.