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A Dark Sky Park is a place with exceptionally dark night skies, a place where people have committed to keeping those skies dark, by controlling light pollution.

Since 2009, Galloway Forest Park has been designated by the International Dark-Sky Association as only the fourth Dark Sky Park in the world, and the first in the uk, named a Gold Tier park for its breathtaking and rare stargazing conditions. There are now over 100 Dark Sky Parks worldwide.

Very few people live in the 300 square miles of forest and hills in the park so nights really are black. Over 7,000 stars and planets are visible with the naked eye, and the bright band of the Milky Way is usually easy to see arching across the sky. There’s a new show every night, because as we travel round the sun, we’re getting a constantly changing view of the stars.

How to visit

You’ll get a great view from any of our three visitor centres which overlook the unlit heart of Galloway Forest Park.

There are Dark Sky information points at the visitor centres and at a series of sites across the Forest Park to help you identify the constellations and planets you can see. There are also panoramic viewing points at either end of the Carrick Forest Drive in the northern part of the Forest Park.

Guide map to Galloway's Dark Sky Park (PDF 1.8MB)

Learn more

  • Visit the Dark Sky Observatory 
  • Listen to our stargazing tips podcast (MP3 8.4MB)
  • Watch: Losing the Dark
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