The Cambrian Mountains of Wales contain some of the darkest night skies in Europe. Visit the Cambrian Mountains to discover the constellations and the heritage of galaxies, near and far away and enjoy the Milky Way in all its splendour. Many fascinating species are more active during twilight and overnight. Landscapes familiar to people during the day offer up new insights and excitement as the sun goes down.
A Wealth of Dark Sky Sites
The Cambrian Mountains comprises 467 square miles (1,210 km2) of upland in Mid Wales, far away from cities and sources of man-made light pollution. With nine easily accessible Dark Sky Discovery Sites and an International Dark Sky Park, there are plenty of options to start your dark sky adventure.
Elan Valley International Dark Sky Park
In 2015, the Elan Valley Estate, situated in the middle of the Cambrian Mountains, achieved International Dark Sky Park status and became the first privately-owned but publicly-accessible park in the world to do so.
Granted the silver tier status by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) based in Arizona, USA, this means that the entire 45,000 acres of the Elan Valley are protected against light pollution for the benefit of those who live and work there, in addition to our many visitors each year.
The status provides sanctuary for the abundance of wildlife and nature which can be found by day or night on the estate.
Visit the Elan Valley Website for more information.
What is an International Dark Sky Park?
“An IDA International Dark Sky Park (IDSP) is a land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage, and/or public enjoyment. The land may be publicly-owned, or privately-owned provided that the landowner(s) consent to the right of permanent, ongoing public access to specific areas included in the IDA designation.”
As well as Dark Sky Parks there are also Dark Sky Communities, Reserves and Sanctuaries. In Wales we also have the privilege of celebrating Dark Sky Reserves in the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia National Parks. However, the Elan Valley Estate is the only privately-owned International Dark Sky Park in Wales.
Want to know more?
Read our Cambrian Mountains Dark Sky Guide to help you get to know the best sites to stargaze, which apps are great to get started in stargazing and a simple sky guide to help you navigate your way around the night sky.
This website is authored and supported by:
Elan Valley Trust
Elan Valley Trust (formally the Welsh Water Elan Trust; Charity No. 1001347) was established in 1989 to look after the Elan Valley Estate for a thousand years! In its 999 year lease, the Trust is responsible for most of the land on the Estate with a few exceptions, such as the reservoirs, dams, forestry areas and the Elan Valley Visitor Centre. All unenclosed farmland has a right of public access on foot, with many rights of way and other points of interest.
The Trust’s Charitable Objectives are: to promote nature conservation, appropriate public access and provide information about the Estate.
Mynyddoedd Cambrian Mountains
The Cambrian Mountains Initiative seeks to promote sustainable development in this wonderful part of Wales. It is currently managing the Dyfodol Cambrian Futures project, an RDP-funded project delivered by the Cambrian Mountains Initiative and part-funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development,
Ceredigion County Council, Powys County Council and Carmarthenshire County Council. The project also receives support from the Cefn Croes Windfarm Community Trust, Aberystwyth University and the Elan Valley Trust. With the support from local communities in the Cambrian Mountains we are increasing the profile and understanding of the region and developing opportunities to support our communities and our natural environment.