The Amazing Night Skies at Wallops Wood

Have you thought about bringing your binoculars, or even better, a telescope when you come to Wallops Wood? If you’re into stargazing in any form, even if it’s just gazing at the stars when you step outside your back door, then on a clear night you’ll be in for a treat. 

The South Downs, where Wallops Wood is located, is in an International Dark Skies Reserve. This means there’s little light pollution, and ideal for spending time after dark just looking at the stars. On clear nights, as we head towards the December winter solstice, you can view the most amazing night skies. There’s no better time to stargaze than in the winter when the nights are long and the days are short. Why not enjoy stargazing in the hot tub at night while luxuriating in the soothing warm water?

If you fancy venturing out, Old Winchester Hill and Butser Hill are Dark Discovery sites, but you can stargaze right here! We don’t have streetlighting, and as we’re on top of a hillside, we’ve got good sightlines that aren’t blocked by buildings or trees towards the horizon. We have the most amazing night skies just outside your cottage door!

You might be lucky enough to spot a shooting star!
You might be lucky enough to spot a shooting star!

If you’re keen to learn more about the stars, the Dark Discovery website has a star chart you can use to help you work out what you’re looking at and which direction you need to view the stars. It’ll help you learn more about the stars and planets and just wonder at what’s out there beyond our world.  

Another useful website to help you with your stargazing is the Planets Visible on the Time & Date website, which shows what stars and planets are visible to see on your day and time. 

If you fancy tracking the International Space Station, you can track it moving around the world on the NASA website or ISS Spotter app for your phone. You might be lucky enough to see it too! 

This page on the NASA website shows when the International Space Station will be visible from the Winchester area. 

So if you’re coming to stay at Wallops Wood over the winter months, then it really is worthwhile bringing binoculars or a telescope if you have one, and spend an evening or two just gazing upwards and seeing what’s out there. You never know what you might see!

Preparing for an evening of stargazing from Early Mist garden
Preparing for an evening of stargazing from Early Mist garden

Image credits:

Shooting star photo by v2osk on Unsplash