The Dark Skies project will host another Big Lighting Switch Off in Keswick, Ambleside and Grasmere next week.

The demonstration by Friends of the Lake District, designed to highlight the views possible when light pollution is reduced, will take place over two evenings.

On February 8, residents and businesses in the Crow Park area of Keswick will turn their lights off from 7pm.

The follow-on Big Switch Off in Ambleside and Grasmere is scheduled for 7pm on February 9.

Kay Andrews, engagement officer at Friends of the Lake District, said: "A very small moon, and weather permitting, clear skies, will give us a really impressive view of thousands of stars after all the lights go off.

"Each year more businesses and people take part, and we've produced a 'Dark Skies booklet' for hoteliers to encourage their guests outside and help identify some of the major star constellations."

This year marks the fourth annual event in Ambleside and Grasmere, and the first one in Keswick.

Free dark skies activities are planned for Crow Park on Friday, with a Friends' dark skies event set for Thursday in Ambleside.

Research shows that artificial night lighting is detrimental to wildlife and can disrupt human sleep patterns, impacting long-term health.

There is growing concern about the amount of light pollution, with unnecessary lights left on overnight wasting energy and increasing carbon emissions.

Vanessa Metcalfe, tourism manager at Keswick Tourism Association Ltd, said: "We saw the success of the lighting switch off in Ambleside and Grasmere last winter and we thought that would be good for our local businesses during the quieter winter period.

"We often see lots of fantastic nighttime photographs of the Milky Way, whether above Derwentwater or Castlerigg Stone Circle.

"So we’ve arranged for some experts with telescopes and cameras to show us the wonderful displays from Crow Park next to Derwentwater which has a fantastic dark sky free from light pollution."

Will Clark, councillor for Windermere, Ambleside, and Grasmere at Westmorland and Furness, said the one night switch off has already proved to be popular.

He added: "An opportunity to truly observe nature and appreciate our local surroundings without the impact of light pollution.

"Supporting these switch offs also helps to deliver several Council priorities including net zero, biodiversity enhancement and personal wellbeing. Everyone is encouraged to take part in the Dark Skies initiative, including businesses, residents and visitors. Well done to Dark Skies Cumbria and the Friends of the Lake District for their commitment to this project.”

Bruce Hardy, visitor operations and experience manager for the National Trust, Borrowdale encouraged more people to take in the benefits of spending time in nature, including experiencing looking up at a clear sky.

The Dark Sky activities will be taking place in Keswick's Crow Park at 7pm on Friday, and a 'Stargazing and Forest Bathing' experience from 7.30pm.

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