The dark sky park of Mid-Wales

By | Category: Travel news
Elan Valley aurora ©  Janice Vincentt

Elan Valley aurora © Janice Vincentt

Elan Valley Estate in Mid Wales has created history by becoming the world’s first privately owned, but publicly accessed International Dark Sky Park.

The silver-tier status has been granted by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) based in Arizona, USA and means that the 45,000 acre estate is now protected against light pollution for the benefit of those who live and work there, as well as for visitors and the abundance of wildlife found there. The Elan Valley Estate joins the Brecon Beacons National Park which, due to its size, is classified as an International Dark Sky Reserve. Snowdonia National Park is also preparing its application to the IDA.

What makes the Elan Valley Estate’s achievement even more remarkable is that all the preparatory work was done in house by two local amateur astronomers, Les and Kris Fry, now volunteer astronomy rangers and Dwr Cymru (Welsh Water) estate rangers.

The intention now is to expand the Dark Sky area to cover the whole of the Cambrian Mountains.

The IDA says that Wales will lead the entire world in terms of countries with the largest fraction of their land subject to dark skies protection.

There are currently 25 Dark Sky Parks in the world including Galloway Forest Park in Scotland, Death Valley National Park in California, De Boschplaat in the Netherlands and Eifel International Dark Sky Park in Germany.

The Elan Valley International Dark Sky Park will now embark on plans to further improve light wastage within the estate, and to improve facilities for astronomers at several locations across the Estate.

For more information on Elan Valley Astronomy email: or visit


Picture captions: selection of images by amateur photographers Janice Vincentt, Sorcha Lewis and Les Fry.

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