Drive for about 20 minutes from Kittiwake One's location in Woolacombe and you'll reach the boundaries of Exmoor National Park. In October 2011, the Park was the first place in Europe to to be designated an International Dark Sky Reserve.

We cannot overstate how awe-inspiring a trip to Exmoor on a dark night can be. If you're lucky enough to have a cloudless sky combined with a new moon, you are in for some spectacular views!

Here are our tips for enjoying what Exmoor National Park has to offer for nighttime star gazing:

  • It's cold, dark, and tricky terrain!
    • Pack some warm weather gear. Those cloudless skies are notoriously cold so you'll need a good coat, hat and gloves.
    • The terrain on Exmoor is uneven and contains many pitfalls, so pack a torch and some sturdy walking boots.
    • It helps if you scope out your location during the day so you know exactly where you are going when it's dark.
    • Take a warm blanket and a thermos flask for an extra special treat!
  • Read up first
    • The BBC Stargazing Live website has some great audio resources and star charts sow you'll know what to look out for when you're there.
    • The National Park have produced a stargazing brochure which you can read and download here.
  • You'll want to take pictures
    • Don't forget the tripod for your camera, as well as spare batteries if you have them.
    • If you don't have a tripod then you'll still be able to get surprisingly good results by resting your camera safely on a rock or on your car.
  • It's a late night
    • Aim to be there from 11pm onwards (later during the summer). Depending on the time of year you'll get a stunning experience right the way through the night as the Milky Way rises and sets.
    • You can stay as long as you like but be especially weary of the cold conditions - any exposed moor can become dangerously and unexpectedly cold very quickly.

In case you need the extra inspiration, this time-lapse taken on Exmoor by the people at vFilms will give you an idea of what to expect.

One the right night you'll see a lot of stars.