Awesome Dark Sky Spots in Mid Wales

Middle Wales is a place worth visiting to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But it has much more to offer, especially after sunset. This region dominated by the Cambrian peaks, including the green desert of Wales, is home to few people. It is an area whose economy depends on agriculture and small businesses, but a new type of tourism has recently emerged, ideal for the relief of central Wales.

The region that we consider the center of Wales includes two national parks: the southern part of Snowdonia and Brecon Beacons. In addition to the Cambrian peaks, these two awesome regions, considered AONB, are recognized all over the world and the region also has internationally renowned dark sky reserves.

Stellar Tourism is free and low-light areas such as mid Wales have become a major attraction for people who want to superior understand the Universe and the Cosmos. Below we present the best places in mid Wales for a little stargazing.

1. International starry sky park in the Elan Valley

The entire Elan Valley was acquired by the Birmingham Corporation in 1892 to provide a reliable municipal water source for the Midlands city, located about 115 kilometers from the city. The company built several dams in the valley to provide Birmingham with the reliable drinking water that Birmingham sorely needed at the time.

The management of the property has been entrusted to Dŵr Cymru (Welsh Water), which created the Elan Valley Trust in 1989 to ensure the long-term conservation of the valley’s natural resources and promote both public access to the land and environmental education. This decision was made in part by the DŵR Cymru company when they became aware of the importance of the valley’s dark sky and the importance of maintaining this status, and in 2015, Elan Valley Estate obtained its long-awaited international Dark Sky status (IDS), thus becoming the initial private but still public park worldwide.

Benefiting from the silver status of the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), based in Arizona, USA, this status now means that the 45,000 hectares of the Elan Valley are protected from light pollution for the benefit of those who live and work here, and guarantees that the region remains one of the stargazing sites

2. Tags Cwmdu, Crickhowell, Brecon

Kwmdu – or Llanfihangel Kwmdu- is a quiet valley in the black peak range of Brecon Beacons. Marked by a special little pin on the map of Wales for stargazing, the region hosts the Astrocamp twice a year at the Cwmdu campsite. Since its creation in 2012, AstroCamp has been a place where astronomers and stargazing enthusiasts come together to share telescopes and views of the valley, and they promote Astronomy through regular conferences, fun workshops and even a pub quiz with gifts from the telescope.

Cwmdu is located in the Brecon Beacons International Dark Sky Reserve. This reserve has become the initial international dark sky reserve granted to Wales and, on a clear night, the Milky Way, some of the most important constellations, brilliant mists and even meteor showers can be seen at Brecon Beacons. The park is said to have the highest quality dark skies in the UK, making it the perfect place for stargazing enthusiasts. It is all these virtues that pushed AstroCamp to choose the Cwmdu as the region to organize its semi-annual meetings.


3. USK tank, Brecon lighthouses

It’s a really beautiful dark place, sheltered from the light pollution of the South Wales valleys. The USK Reservoir, which concerns both Brecon Beacons and parts of East Carmarthenshire, has ample parking and is easily accessible from the Tracksleigh area. Organize a family picnic at sunset, then install your telescope to enjoy the exceptional dark sky.

What makes the USK Reservoir special is that it is known as one of the quietest and darkest places and is ideal for stargazing. As one of the largest lighthouse reservoirs, Usk is so named because the water from the Usk River enters it.

This 280 hectare reservoir is located in a picturesque and isolated countryside, Usk is surrounded by a pine forest and a marsh at the extreme west of Beacons. “Y Mynydd Du” in Welsh means lighthouse chain “black peaks”. This area is not only a paradise for stargazers, but it is also considered one of the best trout fishing sites in Wales, which attracts a large number of anglers every year.

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