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Dark Skies Reserve Betws-y-Coed

A new attraction to Betws-y-Coed is the fascinating Dark Sky Reserve .It denotes an area where darkness of the night sky is not interfered with from
artificial lights from roads, housing or any other light source.

We are lucky enough for the Snowdonia National Park to have been given an award by the International Dark Sky Association that qualifies certain areas of Snowdonia that have minimal light pollution.
It was given the award in December 2015 and Snowdonia is an International Dark Sky Reserve.It is the tenth in the world to achieve this status.

Wales  has the highest percentage of dark skies of all the countries in the world, which is quite an achievement.18% of land areas in Wales is qualified as dark skies

The benefits of having dark skies are beneficial to  tourism, wildlife and businesses geared towards this new attraction.

The effects of light pollution on wild life has been particularly damaging as light pollution rises in other areas.

For those businesses that have taken on the Dark Skies theme can benefit from a new niche tourism market. Accommodation providers can take advantage of this by
providing telescopes, and conservatories to view the night skies.

Milky Way Courtesy Daily Post

The best times of the year for this activity is in the winter months when other tourists are not around.
This creates a continual trade when business  would be very slack.
Star gazing events can be organised very locally from December through to the end of February when the days are at their shortest.

Children from local schools have also been involved in creating posters promoting the Dark Skies project, and also allow them to have an in interest in astro photography.

The night sky over Snowdonia has been given special protection from light pollution and one of its main aims is to keep light levels as low as possible and to promote and enhance the
awareness of the biodiversity of the stars in these  dark sky parks.

If you live in the Northern part of Snowdonia and Close to Betws-y-Coed or Llanrwst then one spot that has been given protection is Llyn Gerionydd. It is a very popular Lake in Gwydyr Forest
which allows speed boating, fishing , and picnic areas in the summer time.  Now that this new attraction is here you will have the chance to see the Milky Way and all the major constellations shooting stars
night sky stars on a clear night sky.

Why not download a dark sky app on your phone and bring it to Geirionydd and try to locate all the stars.
There is a reasonable sized car park for night time viewing. An experience not to be missed on a clear dark night.

Another area in North Wales which has been given protection is at LLyn y Ddywarchen above Drws y Coed near Beddgelert This lake is also very popular for fishing in the summer months.
At present the car parking only allows up to 6 vehicles.

It is another excellent dark night sky location a few miles
from Betws-y-Coed.

Much more information on the Dark Skies  Reserve and stargazing in general can found from the North Wales Astronomy Club .

Further reading is available from Snowdonia National Park.
Aoraki Mackenzie New Zealand Sky Reserve.
Brecon Beacons National Park,
Exmoor National Park,
Co Kerry  Ireland
Mont-Megantic Quebec Canada.
Namibrand Nature Reserve Namibia.
Pic Du Midi France.
Rhon and Westhavell Germany.

Dark sky location in Wales.Elan Valley International Dark Sky Park
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

International Dark Sky Association Tucson Arizona

What type of Telescope is good for stargazing?
Well an inventor from Pensarn in North Wales has invented the largest Refracting telescope used on the east coast of America..It is used by the Custer Institute Observatory in Long Island New York.

It is a very cheap telescope costing around £14000, which seems expensive but when compared to telescopes of this quality the price is nearly ten times this amount ( £140,000 ). But not really  suitable  for your average B&B establishment to own.

Instead a simple refracting telescope is available  much cheaper.

What is a refracting telescope?
It is a type of optical lense telescope which bends light through a lens so that it forms an image.

The design being used in  spy glasses and astronomical telescopes and for long distance lenses on cameras.

You can purchase these for a more reasonable amount of £250.00 or so.

For more details on how these telescopes work go to