Dark skies over Cranborne Chase AONB

CRANBORNE Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has officially become an International Dark Sky Reserve – the first AONB to receive this formal designation and only the 14th reserve across the globe.

The Chase, which extends from Dorset into Wiltshire, Hampshire and a small area in Somerset, joins an exclusive club of International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Protected Areas to gain international recognition for its dark skies.

Some people may be able to recognise the constellation known as the Plough, but for the majority of the population seeing stars and their constellations is often impossible because of light pollution.

“Here in Cranborne Chase we can see the Milky Way ,nd the Andromeda galaxy, if the clouds allow,” says Linda Nunn, the director of Cranborne Chase AONB.

Bob Mizon, who leads the Commission for Dark Skies in the UK and has played a major supporting role in the application, said: “You can’t fail to be amazed by the show the night sky puts on when you’re in Cranborne Chase AONB on a clear night. This dark sky status helps to keep it that way for future generations.”