Dark Skies Cornwall

Under a pitch black starry sky in West Penwith, when sitting by some of the ancient monuments, we are looking at the very sky that 2000 years or more ago our ancestors were looking at. We must protect that sky for future generations…

The International Dark Sky Places Conservation Programme recognises and promotes the excellent stewardship of the night sky.


Cornwall AONB has two IDA Dark Sky Parks that cover the whole of Section 07, West Penwith and Section12, Bodmin Moor.


Preserve and enhance the dark night skies above West Penwith and Bodmin Moor for pleasure, leisure and to support the wellbeing of residents, visitors and wildlife.

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About IDA

About IDA

The International Dark-Sky Association was founded in 2001 to encourage communities, parks and protected areas around the world to preserve and protect dark sites through responsible lighting policies and public education. The IDA offers five types of designation from communities which are legally organised cities and towns that adopt quality outdoor lighting ordinances to Sanctuaries which are the most remote (and often darkest) places in the world. Their conservation state is most fragile.

Cornwall has successfully designated two International Dark Sky Parks, which are Sections of Cornwall AONB. The parks are publically – or privately owned spaces protected for natural conservation that implement good outdoor lighting and provide dark sky programmes for visitors.

Aims - Goals & Objectives

Aims – Goals & Objectives


Preserve and enhance the dark night sky above for pleasure, leisure and to support the wellbeing of residents, visitors and wildlife


Raise awareness of the importance of a dark night sky and encourage a reduction in light pollution


Engage with individuals and groups to grow an outreach and education programme for astronomy, nature, historic environment and well-being


Guide residents and visitors to the most appropriate locations and opportunities for appreciating the dark night sky


Promote eco- and astro-tourism


Inspire other designated landscape areas, within Cornwall and beyond, to appreciate and protect their dark skies, both formally and informally

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Our Primary Purpose is to conserve and enhance Natural Beauty.

Our priority is to lead and support projects which deliver under these four key categories.

benefit to people


Humans evolved to the rhythms of the natural light-dark cycle of day and night. We need darkness to thrive.

benefit to place


Experiencing the night sky provides perspective, inspiration, and leads us to reflect on our place in the universe. It is our common and universal heritage.

benefit to nature


Plants and animals depend on Earth’s daily cycle of light and dark rhythm to govern life-sustaining behaviors such as reproduction, nourishment, sleep and protection from predators.

benefit to climate


IDA estimates that least 30% of all outdoor lighting (USA) alone is wasted, mostly by lights that aren’t shielded. This equals $3.3 billion and 21 million tons of CO2 per year! To offset we’d have to plant 875 million trees annually

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Project Detail

Bodmin Moor International Dark Sky Park

In July 2017 Bodmin Moor, Section 12 Cornwall AONB, was designated an International Dark Sky Landscape, confirming its status as one of Cornwall’s star attractions and making it the first International Dark Sky Place in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.


Lanyon Quoit | Michael Lovell

Following a bid by Cornwall Council and Caradon Observatory, the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) has awarded the prestigious designation in recognition of the exceptional quality of the night sky over Bodmin Moor, commitments to avoid light pollution and the provision of educational outreach.

While other sites in the UK have previously received International Dark Sky Places accreditation, today’s announcement of Bodmin Moor’s status as an International Dark Sky Park is especially noteworthy. Its position within the Cornwall AONB clearly establishes that the conservation of dark night skies is wholly compatible with the notion of protected landscapes where people routinely live and work. IDA Executive Director J. Scott Feierabend

Bodmin Moor International Dark Sky designation covers the portion of the Moor within Section 12 PLUS a two-mile buffer zone around it

Star-gazing opportunities on Bodmin Moor are at their best in the darker spring, autumn and winter months. The designation brings health benefits for both people and wildlife in the moor’s living landscape by helping to keep artificial light at a very low level.

Within the designation area residents and businesses are encouraged to protect the night sky from light pollution by managing their lighting better.

Under a pitch black starry sky in West Penwith, when sitting by some of the ancient monuments, we are looking at the very sky that 2000 years or more ago our ancestors were looking at. We must protect that sky for future generations to also be able to appreciate and wonder at.

Project Detail

West Penwith International Dark Sky Park, 2021

Most recently the skies above West Penwith, Section 07 Cornwall AONB, are now officially recognised with the prestigious International Dark Sky Park Designation, awarded by the International Dark-Sky Association.


West Penwith is only the seventh area of the UK and the second in Cornwall (after Bodmin Moor) to become an International Dark Sky Park.

The West Penwith IDSP covers the westerly section of Cornwall’s AONB; it stretches around the coastline from the outskirts of St Ives, through to St Just, Sennen and around Land’s End to Mousehole. Inland it takes in Trethewey, Sancreed and New Mill. The designation recognises this area as being naturally dark at night, with minimal traces of light pollution, making West Penwith one of the best places in the world to view the beauty of the night sky.

Cornwall Council supported a partnership among residents, businesses and councillors to achieve the accolade. A Steering Group comprised of local Councillors, Cornwall Council officers, PK Porthcurno, Land’s End Accommodation Providers, The National Trust, Cornwall AONB, Mayes Creative, Penwith Landscape Partnership and other passionate locals led the efforts for this IDSP nomination.

Information for Farmers & Landowners

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