Chichester Harbour Secures New Dark Sky Discovery Sites
Three new Dark Sky Discovery Sites have been designated in Chichester Harbour. The sites were all identified as excellent places for stargazing due to their impressive levels of darkness, excellent lines of sight and good accessibility year round. 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 quickly and collectively approved by the awarding body, the Science and Technology Facilities Council. The designations were 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.
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.”
In partnership with the South Downs Astronomical Society, the Conservancy will organise a number of stargazing events as part of its annual activities programme for 2018, which will be published in December.
You can find out more about Dark Sky Discovery Sites at www.darkskydiscovery.org.uk.
Dark night skies are vital for the internationally important wildlife of Chichester Harbour
Photo credit Evelyn Symmons