The Presteigne & Norton Dark Sky Community is located in Powys, Wales’s largest and most rural county that borders England. The two historic Radnorshire towns cover an outer area of 40 square kilometers and have a combined population of 2,700 residents.
The dark sky initiative led by the local community, Presteigne & Norton Town Council, Powys County Council & Dark Source Lighting Design Studio aims to eliminate the significant light pollution caused by the blue-rich LEDs introduced in 2008. Frequent sky quality monitoring and engagement programs organized by the local community raised awareness, eventually ensuring the protection of a large area. This area is home to light-sensitive bat species and the nearby Spaceguard Centre observatory.
A total of 380 lighting columns were refurbished with 2200K LED luminaires, with about half of them programmed to switch off and the rest to dim by 50% after midnight. The project has reduced annual CO2 emissions by 4.5 tonnes. Comprehensive lighting tests were conducted, and broader community feedback was sought throughout the project. As the first International Dark Sky Community in Wales, the success of this initiative has prompted the authorities to consider rolling out similar lighting schemes across the county. This action will empower many other communities to pursue dark skies accreditation, which is crucial to the continuity of dark sky preservation across Wales and the United Kingdom.
The town is accessible to the public by foot, bike, or car. The adventurous may access the Withybeds for a nature walk or visit Spaceguard Centre for a scenic view of the wider area.
40 Sq. Km
International Dark Sky Community
Presteigne & Norton
Powys, Wales, United Kingdom
Click here to find ideal environmental conditions for enjoying dark skies near Powys, Wales (52.29, -3.03).