Whether you’re visiting for a weekend, week or longer, during a cloudless night, the skies of Devon are full of fascination! With vast spaces in the county remaining undeveloped and void from unnatural light, you can expect to see awe-inspiring and uninterrupted night-time skies during your next visit. Below, we’ve listed some of the best stargazing spots in Devon, places where you can wrap up in your blankets, enjoy a cup of something warming and admire the constellations overhead.
Exmoor Dark Sky Reserve – Holdstone Down & County Gate
As one of the first areas in Europe to be designated as a Dark Sky Reserve, it comes as no surprise that the location is renowned for being one of the best of its kind in the country, so of course, we’re featuring it first on our list! The landscape consists of ancient woodlands and hedgerows, farmland, wildlife, coastal cliffs and beaches, moorland and valleys. This diversity is in part, what makes Exmoor so magical, visitors discover a sense of tranquillity and adventure during a visit, and this appreciation stretches through both the day and into the night.
As a Dark Sky Discovery site, on a clear evening, you will be rewarded with excellent night viewing at Holdstone Down. Found just outside of the coastal village of Combe Martin, the views are equally as mesmerising come day or night. Stargazers can expect to see approximately 3,000 stars with the human eye, making it a perfect option for beginners.
Found on the Devon-Somerset border, just outside of the village of Oare, is County Gate. This spot is a favourite amongst locals, with the sweeping views of moorland and coast effortlessly coming together to form what is an exceptionally beautiful landscape. As the sun sets, and day turns into night, County Gate will not be a disappointment, as light pollution is at the very minimum, so on a cloudless night, you are all but guaranteed a starry-eyed spectacle!
Dartmoor – Combestone Tor
Coined the ‘true heart of Devon’, Dartmoor is a paradise for those hoping to enjoy a starry night’s sky due to both its size and the remoteness. The lack of artificial light pollution ensures both experienced astronomers and beginners in the field will be treated with breath-taking scenes. Lose yourself in awe, as you keep a close eye on the skies for any shooting stars.
Offering outstanding views of the surrounding valleys, Combestone Tor is equally as popular amongst walkers and those searching for a picnic spot as it is amongst astronomers. Much of Dartmoor’s landscape is dotted with rocky outcrops and boulders, and it is at Combestone Tor that you will find the finest example in Dartmoor, so be sure to get there before the sun goes down to be in with a chance of sighting them.
Harland Peninsula – Bursdon Moor
The coast of the Harland Peninsula is wild and rugged. With towering cliffs, dramatic rock formations and some of the roughest seas in Devon, it’s a location that will really ‘blow away the cobwebs’! When day turns into night at this remote and idyllic seaside settlement, the celestial display will astonish!
We’d recommend heading to Bursdon Moor. During the day, you will see panoramic views of the coast, surrounding woodland and the moor, and at night, uninterrupted stargazing! For the history-buffs, be sure to take a look at the Bronze Age burial mounds, they are the earliest evidence of humans on the moor.
Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – Buckland
The Tamar Valley AONB has the best of both – a part in Devon and some in Cornwall! Meaning during a visit to this beauty spot, you can hop across to either county depending on which areas or attractions you’d like to visit! It is still relatively unspoilt, and you can expect rolling green fields, an abundance of wildlife and of course, the stunning River Tamar taking centre stage.
Following a successful stargazing event several years ago, Buckland has been firmly put on the stargazing map as a hot spot for sighting some of the wonders of the universe. With its isolated location, there is minimal light pollution, so on a clear evening, you will see thousands of glistening stars!
Whether you’re a beginner stargazer looking for tips or an experienced astronomer, the comprehension of the age, distances and undeniable beauty of a starry sky is a timeless activity that the whole family can enjoy!
Many of our Devon glamping abodes can be found in secluded locations with minimal light pollution, offering the perfect base for you during your road to stargazing success!