Somerset village named one of UK’s best stargazing spots

We are blessed in Somerset to be home to some stunning scenery, be it Exmoor National Park, the Quantock Hills, the Mendips or the Blackdown Hills.

For those who manage to climb these areas on a clear night, we are often treated to a spectacular view of the stars.

According to a Land Rover study, there’s one place here in Somerset that stands among Snowdonia, the Scottish Highlands and the North York Moors as one of the top 10 places in the UK for stargazing, and it’s is Porlock Common.

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The township is located just west of the small coastal village of Porlock, approximately 20 minutes’ drive from Minehead. It is located in the heart of West Somerset within the Exmoor National Park.

Exmoor was designated “International Dark Sky Reserve Status” 10 years ago and was in fact the first site in Europe to receive this stellar distinction.

Porlock Common, overlooking Porlock Bay

But what is a Dark Sky Preserve? And how does he qualify somewhere? According to the International Dark-Sky Association website:

“An IDA International Dark Sky Reserve is public or private land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural, heritage and/or public enjoyment”

To be eligible, an area must meet certain criteria for sky quality and natural darkness, with a “peripheral area that supports dark sky preservation”.

With that in mind, April will bring the Lyrid meteor shower, so grab your camping chairs and blankets and get up there! A full meteor shower calendar can be found here on the Royal Museums Greenwich website.

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