Planet Chichester! Stargazers urged to visit ‘excellent’ harbour sites to observe night skies


Stargazers have been urged to take advantage of three Chichester Harbour sites that have just been identified as excellent places to observe the night skies.

Three new dark sky discovery sites have been designated in the area thanks to their “impressive levels of darkness, excellent lines of sight and good accessibility year round”.

And Roger Price, the chairman of the conservancy, said: “Preserving our dark skies has so many benefits. They are important for many reasons – education and astronomy, for nocturnal animals, astro-tourism and development management.

“For humans dark skies are critical as they affect our health and wellbeing with research showing they can help us achieve a good night’s sleep. I thoroughly welcome the new designations and I would like to thank everyone who supported our bids.”

The locations of the sites are north of the Lt. Col. John Q Davis foothpath in West Itchenor, Maybush Copse in Chidham, and at Eames Farm on Thorney Island.

Chichester Harbour Conservancy made the nominations earlier this year and each was approved by the awarding body, the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

The designations were said to be “particularly welcomed because in 2016 the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) reported that Chichester Harbour had some of the highest levels of light pollution across England’s 33 areas of outstanding natural beauty. By raising awareness of the issue, the Conservancy hopes these levels of ‘night blight’ can be reversed”.

In partnership with the South Downs Astronomical Society, the conservancy is now set to organise a number of stargazing events as part of its annual activities programme for 2018, which will be published in December.

*Dark sky discovery sites are a nationwide network of places that provide great views and which are accessible to everyone. They have been nominated by local groups and organisations as their top local spot to see the stars.

About the Author

Carl Eldridge
Carl Eldridge is a hugely experienced journalist who has worked on local and national newspapers, magazines and written for websites over the past 30 years. He lives in Bognor Regis with his wife and son. And he is a life-long Arsenal fan.