The best spots for stargazing in Dorset
PUBLISHED: 09:56 29 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:20 02 November 2020
In Dorset, city lights are few and far between. Get your binoculars and telescopes ready, because we’ve picked some of the best places for spotting stars and the solar system in Dorset
Durlston Country Park
Situated in the south-east corner of the Isle of Purbeck, Durlston's dark skies make it an ideal place to see stars and planets and the in-house Astronomy Centre has a 14" Meade telescope. There are plenty of stargazing events running throughout the year so check the events guide online for full listings.
Good to know: The only charge made for visiting Durlston is for parking.
Badbury Rings is an Iron Age hill fort that sits 327 feet above sea level - so you're in a great position to connect with the skies above. Look up on a clear night and you'll have a fantastic uninterrupted view of star clusters and our solar system.
Good to know: The grounds are owned by the National Trust and there is a car park.
Get yourself stargazing ready when taking a night time trip to Upton Heath. Whilst in a urban setting, it's a peaceful and undisturbed spot to look out for nocturnal wildlife. During the day, you can see views of Poole Harbour, Corfe Castle and Purbeck.
Good to know: There is a car park on Springdale Road.
This reserve near Fontmell Magna in north Dorset has stunning views over the Blackmore Vale which inspired the landscape in which Thomas Hardy's novels were set. Standing at the top of the reserve will reveal lots of open space for stargazing. In June and July you might even spot glow-worms!
Good to know: The grounds are owned by the National Trust and there is a nearby car park and cafe at Compton Abbas Airfield.
Where better to gaze at the galaxy than amidst the 12th century ruins of magical Church Henge. Keep an eye out for the ghost of a phantom horse and rider said to haunt the pre-historic earthworks surrounding the church.
Good to know: The grounds are owned by English Heritage and there is a small car park nearby.
Kingcombe Meadows and Powerstock Common
Set in the hills and vales of west Dorset, night is at its darkest in Kingcombe Meadows thanks to the lack of light pollution. If you're lucky, you might even spot some bats flying around!
Good to know: The main car park is at Kingcombe Centre and entry is free.
Safety: Take care when walking at these nature reserves in the dark - take a torch and wear appropriate footwear as there may be uneven ground. Ideally go with others or let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.