Partnership helps with the reach for the stars

29 July 2015

Sky-high plans to develop a world-class astronomy village at Kielder Water & Forest Park are one small step closer, thanks to a new formal partnership.

Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society has joined Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, whose other members include Northumbrian Water, Forestry Commission, Calvert Trust Kielder and Northumberland County Council.

The Trust works to develop the Park - which is home to northern Europe’s largest man-made lake, the largest working forest in England and one of the world’s largest International Dark Sky Parks - as an internationally renowned outdoor activity destination.

The "sky-high" development of the hugely successful Kielder Observatory, which already boasts more than 17,000 visitors a year, will increase the capacity and capabilities of the observatory.

The plans, which will add to the existing facilities, include the creation of a state of the art planetarium, an increased number of telescopes, a new lecture room capable of holding over 60 people, an educational multi-media facility and regular exhibits and demonstrations.

The Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society are hoping the plans, which could see visitor numbers quadruple, will be up and running within five years.

For Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society, joining the Trust formalises the partnership working which has already begun to pay dividends with the designation of the gold tier International Dark Sky Park and the Defra funded Animating Dark Skies project.

Lynn Turner, Director of Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, said: “The Trust aims to continually improve the visitor offer in the Park, making the most of its unique natural and man-made assets and providing a range of activities and experiences for all.

“The partners work together very closely to do this and I’m delighted to welcome the Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society onboard.”

Rob Little, Chairman of Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society, said: “We are delighted to be part of the Trust, working with our partners to develop a world class Astronomy Centre that will allow us to inspire more people and create more employment and business for the North East Region.”

Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust is working on a number of other projects, which include an initiative to improve the wildlife offer for visitors to the Park.

There are also plans to develop the Kielder Art & Architecture programme, which is currently hosting a series of curator-led arts tours over the summer and autumn. For more information see

For more information contact Janine Scott on 0191 301 6713.

Kielder Water and Forest Park, which spans 250 square miles, is home to the largest forest in England and the largest man-made lake in northern Europe. It was awarded the number one tourism experience in England by Visit England 2013, and the most tranquil place in England by the Campaign to Protect Rural England. Together with Northumberland National Park, it was granted gold tier Dark Sky Park status in December 2013. For more information see

Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust is a registered charity working to develop the Park as an inspirational place. It aims to improve economic, social and environmental sustainability, provide public recreation and leisure facilities, facilitate education in all aspects of the natural environment and advance art and architecture in the Park. The Trust works with the range of communities to benefit from these activities.

Members, who have appointed directors/trustees to serve on the board, are Northumbrian Water, Forestry Commission, Calvert Trust Kielder, Northumberland County Council and Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society. Affiliate organisations that are not members but have a close working relationship with KWFPDT include Arts Council England, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency, The Scout Association and local decision making bodies such as the parish councils.

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