Cranborne Chase in Dorset named an International Dark Sky Reserve

We're delighted that the beautiful night’s sky, visible over our Merley Court Holiday Park & Wilksworth Caravan Park, has been acknowledged as an ideal stargazing spot.

Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) has recently been named an International Dark-Sky Reserve - the first in the country! The starry skies overs areas of Wiltshire, Dorset and Hampshire have been recognised for their low light pollution levels, making them the ideal place to spot some 'out of this world' natural wonders.


This not only officially recognises the beauty you can witness, but also implements measures to ensure the visual impact of the night sky will not be jeopardised by future development, which must all now be implemented with the natural skyscape in mind. Just some of the sights you can witness with the naked human eye include the Milky Way and even the Andromeda Galaxy on a clear night!

Our Nearby Parks

Merley Court Holiday Park and Wilksworth Caravan Park are both ideally situated to make the most of this natural spectacle. With dark skies and the south coast’s meteor showers predicted this season, our two Dorset parks will be incredible locations from which to take in stunning astronomical displays alongside family and friends.


The night sky is always a sight to behold in this area, but in early November meteorologists are predicting an incredible showing of 15 meteors per hour. The new preventative measures in place by Cranborne Chase AONB are designed to prevent light pollution and ensure that the sky can be seen without hinderance, to ensure that the show can be witnessed long into the future.

The Benefits of Dark Skies

Alongside the fantastic opportunity to take part in some astrophotography and stargazing, areas of dark skies are greatly beneficial for nocturnal wildlife as well as our own human wellbeing.


Did you know, a dark night helps revitalise our bodies and minds for the day ahead?

Is this the first Dark Sky Reserve?

The Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is only the 14th such area in the world to be certified, and the only one in the country to be designated on this scale.


The status is awarded by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) to areas which offer "exceptional starry skies". There are huge benefits for nocturnal wildlife as well as health and wellbeing.

This puts this area’s night sky in the same category as:

● Aoraki Mackenzie (New Zealand)

● Brecon Beacons National Park (Wales)

● Central Idaho (U.S.)

● Cévennes National Park (France)

● National Park Exmoor (England)

● Kerry (Ireland)

● Mont-Megantic (Canada)

● Moore's Reserve (South Downs, England)

● Nature Reserve NamibRand (Namibia)

● Pic du Midi (France)

● Rhon (Germany)

● Snowdonia National Park (Wales)

● Westhavelland (Germany)

With so many natural wonders to witness, why not take a break to Dorset and experience the stunning night sky for yourself? Whether you’d prefer to enjoy the view whilst relaxing in your very own hot tub accommodation, or gaze at the stars from your tent on a camping retreat, you’re sure to find your perfect ‘dark sky’ retreat with us.

Winter makes the ideal time for a dark sky retreat and with an extra 20% off 2019 camping and touring pitches with the discount code 20TOUR, there's never been a better time to get away...

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