Imagine getting away to the countryside and breathing in the fresh air as you relax, unwind and explore. And if you fancy a spot of stargazing you’re in luck as West Sussex makes the perfect location for this fascinating pastime. South Downs National Park is one of just two International Dark Sky Reserves (IDSR) in the whole of England, so why not make the most of this unique opportunity? We’ve put together some handy stargazing tips to help you get started.
Things you will need
- Warm layers
- Blankets or mats to lie on
- A flask with a hot drink and some snacks
- A compass
- A camera and tripod (optional)
Top tips and things to remember
- Check the phase of the moon before planning your trip, as it’s best to go just before a full moon. You can do this with a quick search online or by using a lunar calendar app.
- Use a compass (again, you can also use one on your smartphone) to help you find constellations or stars.
- Allow time for your eyes to adjust to the darkness, make sure any lights or phone screens around you are off and allow yourself around 20 minutes.
- Even in the spring and summer months, it can quickly become cold underneath a clear sky. Make sure you wrap up warm to get the most out of your stargazing experience!
Best places to stargaze in West Sussex
Iping Common is a nature reserve close to the market town of Midhurst with wildlife unique to these rare lowland areas, but you can also view some of the South Downs’ darkest skies here.
Further east is the V-shaped valley of Devil’s Dyke, tucked behind Brighton and Hove and bordering several villages of the Mid Sussex District of West Sussex. A popular tourist attraction based on old folklore, it’s also one of the best spots in the country for viewing the night skies.
Information sourced and adapted from the South Downs National Park.