Devon Dark Skies

We love Devon’s dark skies!

Watching a magical moon rise over the sea, gazing up at the stars and the Milky Way, catching a glimpse of a barn owl in the cool moonlight… There are so many ways we can enjoy our night skies away from the dazzle and distraction of artificial lighting.

It’s no wonder that the dark star-lit skies of Devon are so popular with residents and tourists alike.

Our wildlife needs darkness at night too. Light pollution can interrupt natural rhythms, including migration, reproduction and feeding patterns.

Whilst some lighting at night is important for our safety, unnecessary artificial light spilling into the night sky is a waste of money and energy, increasing our carbon emissions which in turn, has a negative impact on our environment.

We are proud that Devon has the fourth darkest night skies in the country, with low levels of light pollution. (See CPRE’s Night Blight study)

Let’s do what we can to preserve Devon’s dark skies to benefit wildlife, tourism, and our own wellbeing.

Informative poster on how to protect the night sky for #DevonDarkSkies Nocturnal nature in need! Light pollution is reducing nocturnal pollinator visits by as much as 62% and there are 52% less caterpillars in areas with street lights Create your very own night garden! Grow night-time flowering plants, like honeysuckle Add a bat box, bug hotel or hedgehog hut Be untidy! Leave out your log piles and let those leaves lie Did you know 16 out of the 18 bat species can be found in devon? Why not visit Exmoor for one of the best night skies in the UK? Light pollution has increased at least 49% globally over 25 years- but you can help change this! Switch off your lights! with 96% of the uk’s land surface affected by light pollution it’s no surprise only 1 in 20 people can enjoy a starry sky! A wilder night sky doesn’t just help wildlife but can also help us feel closer to nature and provides multiple mental health benefits Want to know more about our dark skies? Check out these organisations for more information and to find out what you can do to help... Exmoor National Park Buglife Devon Local Nature Partnership The Countryside Charity It's not just about less lights, it's about the right lights The 5 principles for responsible outdoor lighting: 1) Useful- only when needed 2) Targeted- direct where necessary 3) Low level- not too bright! 4) Control- timers and motion detectors 5) Warm coloured- for shorter wavelengths.

What can we do to reduce adverse impacts of artificial lighting?

  • Avoid using lighting! Artificial light is hugely beneficial in some situations. However, we should always think twice as to whether it is essential.
  • Reduce light spill. Design lighting to minimise light spill into areas where it isn’t required for example, through the design of the light fitting, use of walls / fences / dense vegetation to block light, or shutting curtains at night.
  • Ensure that lights are only on when required. Use motion sensors, timers for street lighting or just switch off lights that aren’t needed.
  • Reduce brightness. Lighting should only be bright enough to fulfil its function. Reduce brightness through choosing bulbs with lower lumens. If you are trying to keep an area dark for wildlife such as a dark corridor the light levels entering the habitat should not be greater than the normal night light levels or 0.4 lux vertically and 0.2 lux horizontally.
  • Use warm lighting. Where possible use warm LED lighting of 2700K or less to reduce the blue/UV component. Warmer light reduces impacts on wildlife, human health and sky glow.

Devon Dark Skies Fortnight

Join us every October to celebrate the dark skies of Devon! 

Experience the magic of Devon’s dark skies, learn more about our nocturnal species and discover what you can do to reduce light pollution. Let’s help keep Devon’s night skies special.

Follow us on social media to find events and information during Devon Dark Skies fortnight, and check out our Dark Skies Week webinars below from previous years.




Online talks from 2021 Devon Dark Skies Week

a white moth on a wooden structure

An introduction to moths and their declines webinar

Speaker: Richard Fox, Butterfly Conservation

Richard’s talk provided us with a basic introduction to moths and their importance within their ecosystems as well as a brief overview of the causes of their declines in Britain and provided an insight into the ways in which moths are affected by street lighting. He also shared with us the results of a recently published paper that he was involved in the research for. 

light pollution

The importance of the night sky and getting lighting right

Speakers: Bob Mizon MBE (UK Commission for Dark Skies) and Ivan Buxton (Devon Campaign to Protect Rural England).

Bob’s talk focussed on the night sky and the benefits of getting lighting right, highlighting the negative effects that overuse and ineffective lighting can have on our nocturnal wildlife. Ivan’s talk focussed on the effects of night lighting and what we can do as individuals and communities to reduce the negative effects our lighting might have, both on us, and wildlife.

Dark skies activities and resources

Devon Dark Skies Week 2020