Three new Dark Sky Discovery sites have been designated at Chichester Harbour

It’s official! Chichester Harbour is an excellent place for stargazing.

Three sites at the harbour -north of the Lt. Col. John Q Davis foothpath in West Itchenor, Maybush Copse in Chidham, and at Eames Farm on Thorney Island –  have recently been designated Dark Sky Discovery sites.

To achieve this, the areas must have impressive levels of darkness, excellent lines of sight and good accessibility year round.

Chichester Harbour Conservancy nominated the three sites earlier this year before being approved by the awarding body, the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

Just last year, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) reported that Chichester Harbour had some of the highest levels of light pollution across England’s 33 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The conservancy hopes that by raising awareness of the issue, these levels of so-called ‘night blight’ can be reversed.

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The chairman of the conservancy, Roger Price, said preserving dark skies has so many benefits.

“They are important for many reasons – education and astronomy, for nocturnal animals, astro-tourism and development management,” he said.

“For humans dark skies are critical as they affect our health and wellbeing with research showing they can help us achieve a good night’s sleep. I thoroughly welcome the new designations and I would like to thank everyone who supported our bids,” he added.

In partnership with the South Downs Astronomical Society, the conservancy will organise a number of stargazing events as part of its annual activities programme for 2018, which will be published in December.