Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water’s Elan Valley estate wants to become the first International Dark Sky Park in Wales

  • Elan Valley has some of the darkest skies in the UK
  • Becoming an International Dark Sky Park would bring huge benefits to the mid Wales economy
  • Excellent opportunity to protect the wildlife and natural environment

Nelson, Wales, 29-11-2013 — /EuropaWire/ — With some of the darkest skies in the UK, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water’s Elan Valley estate wants to become the first International Dark Sky Park in Wales. The Elan Valley estate – which includes approximately 18,000 hectares of land across mid Wales and the Cambrian Mountains – has some of the lowest levels of light pollution in the whole of the UK, and this provides an ideal location to promote the enjoyment of night skies and boost tourism.

International Dark Sky Parks are areas where the night sky is protected and lighting controls are in place to prevent light pollution. Currently, the only International Dark Sky Designation in Wales is the Brecon Beacons, which was awarded this status in February this year.

Over 90% of the UK population lives under a severely light polluted sky (British Astronomical Association survey, 2012). Therefore, protecting those skies that are free of light pollution is very important and will encourage people to enjoy their true beauty.

Sorcha Lewis, Head Ranger at the Elan Valley said, “Having a Dark Sky Status at the Elan Valley would have a positive impact on the local economy here in mid Wales. Tourists interested in the night sky would be more likely to come and visit during the autumn and winter months, when tourism tends to be slightly quieter, which would be a huge benefit to local businesses.

“Aside from promoting tourism, we would also educate visitors of all ages about our night sky and show them how they can help to conserve it in their own homes. By simply reducing the wattage of light bulbs, we can all do our own bit to reverse light pollution, and therefore reduce our carbon footprint.

“Dark skies are hugely important in protecting wildlife and the natural environment. Many birds and animals are affected by stray light intruding into their night world, confusing their natural patterns of activity and affecting their breeding cycles causing premature breeding. As the Elan Valley is an area of spectacular beauty and abundant wildlife, it is crucial that we protect the wildlife of the night by ensuring we look after the dark skies here in mid Wales.”

Local astronomer, Allan Trow, manager at Dark Sky Wales said, “We fully support the Elan Valley’s application for dark sky status. The area provides an unusually dark area for night time observing providing amateur astronomers, the general public and tourism providers a unique environment in which to treasure the night sky and prosper from its economic potential.

“The benefit to businesses from a successful application via astro tourism is enormous with companies like ours being able to provide astronomy based activities and educational programmes for local people and business.”

Welsh Water’s Elan Valley estate has held a number of events during the past year to promote the dark skies. The next of these will be a Star Meeting held on Sunday 26th January from 7.30pm until 9pm where visitors will have the opportunity to use scopes to learn all about the stars in the night sky.

For further information, please contact the visitor centre on 01597 810 880.


For further information, contact the press office on 01443 452452

Notes to editor

  • The Elan Estate is the largest single area of land owned by any of the national water companies, comprising some 10% of the total. The Estate has been managed to protect the quality and quantity of the water since 1892. The 70 square miles of moorland, bog, woodland, river and reservoir are of national importance for their diversity of lower plants and the Estate is the most important area for land birds in Wales.
  • Responsibility for protecting the Elan Valley lies with Welsh Water and The Elan Valley Trust, who manage the largest part of the Estate under a long-term lease including the farmland and open hillside. Both organisations promote public access and recreation; provide environmental education services and work together to enhance biodiversity in this special area.
  • Welsh Water is committed to promoting access and recreation at its reservoir sites as well as managing over 42,000 hectares of land and enhancing the special wildlife areas in its care.
  • The Countryside Council for Wales supports conservation, access and environmental and educational events at Elan Valley.
  • Welsh Water is owned by Glas Cymru. It is a non-shareholder and single purpose company and it exists to give customers the best possible water and sewerage services while keeping bills as low as possible. Profits are reinvested in the business to deliver further benefits to customers.

Comments are closed.