Dark Sky Reserve

Come and stay at Park House, Hotel & Spa and enjoy star-gazing from our beautiful grounds.
The Dark Skies of Iping Common are just over 3 miles away.

South Downs Dark Sky Reserve

In May 2016 the South Downs National Park became the world’s newest International Dark Sky Reserve (IDSR). We think our star-studded skies overhead are as valuable as our beautiful rolling landscapes and, with properly dark skies in the South East of England under threat, this is a statement that the skies of the South Downs are worth protecting.

Tips for stargazing in the South Downs

• Check the phase of the moon to plan your trip – stargazing is best before a full moon.
• Take a blanket or mat to lie on.
• Wrap up warm.
• Take some snacks and a hot drink.
• Take a compass or use the one on your smart phone.
• Download a star gazing app to help you identify constellations and stars.
• Allow around 20 mins for your eyes to adjust.
• Turn off any lights, torches and put your mobile phone away.

International Dark Sky Reserve status

• South Downs National Park is the second IDSR in England and the 12th in the world.
• 2 million people live within 5km so it is one of the world’s most accessible parks.
• There are approximately 2,700 streetlights in the National Park.
• Local lighting authorities are replacing these to comply with Dark Sky standards.
• More than 25,000 measurements were taken to map the night skies quality.
• 66% of the National Park has Bronze Level Skies.
• The National Park Authority will protect the dark skies above as well as the landscape.

Nocturnal Wildlife

Dark night skies are not only good for star-gazing, they help nocturnal wildlife such as moths and bats thrive. Here are a few tips on how you can encourage more nocturnal wildlife into your garden:

• Turn off lights when not needed.
• Buy lamps under 500 lumens.
• Plant paler flowers to attract night-time insects.
• Install a batbox.

Top tips for photographing night skies

• Use a tripod.
• With the widest F-Stop available; experiment with ISO settings between 400–1600.
• Use a 10 second delay (self-timer) and set the exposure to around 25–30 seconds.
• Try briefly illuminating landscape features in the foreground by quickly flashing a torch.
• Beat the cold. Wrap up warm and take spare batteries!