Because of the low light pollution and many remote, peaceful spots to be found, the Cotswolds has been labeled as one of the best places in the UK to go stargazing. It’s not often that we take time out of our busy lives to just sit and watch the world go by, or in this case, the stars. But making time for these calming activities really brings us into the moment and helps to keep stress levels low as we clear our minds and forget everyday troubles for a little while.
We’ve listed below some of the top spots to head to and see the stars.
1. Nottingham Hill, Cheltenham
Just outside of Cheltenham near the village of Bishops, Cleeve lies Nottingham Hill, you follow a small lane along the ridge of the hill and you’ll find parking halfway along. The hill has fantastic views out across the Severn Valley which makes for a wonderful view of the night sky and a great spot to go stargazing.
2. Frocester Hill, Stroud
Another great spot is Frocester Hill in Stroud, which climbs from the flatlands of the Severn Valley right up towards Nympsfield and Uley. The view out over Wales is really wonderful. The climb itself is long and although not outrageously steep, since it will be dark you would definitely be better to drive up to the viewing spot and park there.
3. Painswick Beacon, Stroud
The Painswick Beacon is a beautiful spot that climbs from the little village in Painswick up the Cotswold Way National Trail to the beacon itself. The beacon has an Iron Age fort and wonderful views across The Severn Valley, Forest of Dean, and Wales, so you can imagine what a great spot this is to go stargazing. The beacon itself is a little walk from the car park though so do bear that in mind and be prepared with torches.
4. Lucksall Caravan/Camping Park, Mordiford
If you are heading to the Cotswolds for a break then this is a great spot to stay and has some fantastic stargazing opportunities. Set in 21 acres of grassland with the River Wye on one side and 200 acres of woodland on the other, it is really a peaceful place. You won’t find the usual kids’ clubs, entertainment, and so on here, they are really dedicated to keeping the calm and tranquility that the environment provides and this means there is no excess light or noise to disturb your little slice of quiet whilst stargazing.
5. Bracelands Campsite, Forest of Dean
Another campsite that is excellent for stargazing is Bracelands in the beautiful Forest of Dean. You might think it sounds a little crazy that a forest could offer great views of the night sky, however, this campsite has brilliant views out over the River Wye on one side and the Forest of Dean on the other. The panoramic views make for a perfect spot to go stargazing without even having to leave your campsite.
Look out for local events in the Cotswold area too, the Daylesford Organic Farm in Gloucestershire hosted an evening of stargazing in conjunction with Chipping Norton Amateur Astronomy Group. This was a great opportunity to get together with other stargazers in the beautiful surroundings of Daylesford. Whether you’re a keen astronomer with all of the gear or simply enjoy gazing out into the night sky it really makes no odds, you’ll find peace and calm in taking time out, and can face the world with a clearer and hopefully happier mind. Enjoy stargazing!