Access & Recreation


Stargazing is the action of observing the stars. You don’t need any special equipment to look at the night sky and discover the magic unfolding in space. The National Park is the ideal place to experience the best free light show there is, with twinkling stars, whizzing comets and bright planets scattered across the sky. Get outside and discover constellations, galaxies, black holes, a wide variety of types of star and perhaps even some Little Green Men?

The dark night sky is very important resource. It encourages in our pursuit of space exploration, inspires works of art, connects us with our ancestors who used it for navigation, and supports our natural body clock. On top of all of this the dark skies are an essential part of every ecosystem with many nocturnal species totally dependent on good quality night skies.  With good viewing conditions, during a dark and moonless night, it is possible to distinguish about 3000 stars, and you could meet some night time animals.

For best results when stargazing:

  • Stay away from lights such as security lights, street lights and car lights.
  • Find an open space with a low horizon. The view will be better further away from trees and buildings.
  • Go somewhere which is publicly accessible and look out for hazards such as traffic and steep drops.
  • Going to an organised event where experts are on hand to guide you is also a good way to get involved.
  • Use a star chart to help identify the constellations.

The South Downs National Park is working on a dark night skies campaign to measure the quality of our skies, help everyone to reduce light pollution and hopefully become a dark sky reserve.