Sky-gazing at Sizergh

Season:Any
Duration:2 hours or less
Activity:Best Views

Taking the dead end road to the small car park at Helsington Church is a great way of getting a fantastic view without having to even leave your car. And don't forget your binoculars.

In particular, Church Fell is the best place I know for seeing the night sky without obstructive light pollution. With the land being quite high it really does make you feel like you can look and grab the stars out of the sky! The best time to star watch is when there is a meteor shower and the sky is full of fast-moving streaks of light: some of them can be quite big too. The Perseid meteor shower runs from late July to late August; the Leonids peak in Mid-November each year.

Planets are also visible: especially Jupiter. Using binoculars or a telescope you can clearly see its 4 brightest moons of Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto - you can't see ALL of them EVERY night, the line-up changes as the moons orbit the planet. Sometimes you see four, sometimes you might only see two.

Further Information

Ranger's tip: If watching for stars, it is best to go when the Moon is in its minimal phases as the light from a full phase can screen out some of the stars. The best nights for looking at the Moon itself are when it is at "half" phase, that way you can see lots of detail along the 'terminator', the line between night and day.

Frosty clear nights are best for watching the night sky. Take a sheet to lie on and a flask of hot drink. Take a little time out to enjoy the clearer nights so wrap up warm as it can get quite cold whilst lying in the same position for a long time. (Or watch through the car window!)

For good local information about Cumbria's night sky check out: Cumbrian Sky

By Robert Pocklington

I am a Ranger at Sizergh Castle. I have been with the Trust for 5 years and my job consists of a wide range of things from woodland management and coppicing, walling, general estate work and visitor engagement. There is lots of great wildlife on the Estate, which is my main passion. So, for instance sometimes I get to help people spot Hawfinches...as a "twitcher" myself this is a real bonus: a hobby I get paid for! It's not just birds though - with over 100 species now on my Sizergh list I am starting to develop a keen interest in butterflies and scarce flora when times are quiet for birds in the summer months.

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How to get here

Sizergh - Church Fell

Cumbria
United Kingdom

Ordnance Survey OL7
The English Lakes
South Eastern area

SD 487 889

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