KIELDER has been named as one of the UK’s best stargazing hotspots by holiday rental provider Snaptrip.

The company describes the Northumberland location as ‘undeniably beautiful by day, and even better at night, offering captivating views that can’t be missed’.

Kielder is located within the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park, Europe’s largest protected area of night sky, which comprises the whole of Northumberland National Park and 67 per cent of Kielder Water & Forest Park, totalling 572 square miles or 1,483 square km.

The first of its kind in England and the fourth largest in the world, Kielder joins the likes of Death Valley and Big Bend Dark Sky Parks in the USA.

Now, the Northumberland National Park Authority (NNPA) is supporting the nationwide Big Dipper campaign to raise public awareness of light pollution in a bid to conserve the region’s starry dark skies.

The campaign is the brainchild of the Dark Sky Alliance, a national group made up of conservationists, astronomers and tourist operators, including a number of national parks.

Many outside lights, especially LED floodlights and security lights, can be too bright and are installed so that much of the light is directed up into the night sky, contributing to the orangey-white glow above towns and cities, which spreads out into the countryside.

With the dark nights drawing in, the campaign aims to encourage property owners with outside lighting to assess how much light they use and to ensure, where possible, that lamps are dipped downwards.

“We are incredibly proud of our dark skies,” said Duncan Wise, visitor development and marketing manager at NNPA.

“The Big Dipper campaign aims to celebrate our pristine skies by raising their profile and making people aware of the part they can play, no matter how small, to help conserve them.”