A CHANCE to savour some Lancashire's pitch-black vistas is rolling around again for 2024.

Campaigners at the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are again hosting their fascinating Dark Skies Festival.

Light pollution from the county's urban sprawl means there is diminishing territory where astronomers can catch an unimpeded glimpse of the heavens.

But Bowland has no fewer than five officially designated 'Dark Skies' spots across the forest - Beacon Fell Country Park, Gisburn Forest Hub, Slaidburn village car park, the Crook o’ Lune Picnic Site and Clerk Laithe Lodge guest house at Newton-in-Bowland

An AONB official said: "The landscapes of the forest are captivating by day but after the sun sets there’s a whole new world to discover in the dark skies over Bowland.

"Truly dark skies are becoming increasingly rare in our crowded little country.

"Light pollution is creeping into almost every corner of the UK, diluting the pitch blackness of night and obscuring the stars for much of the population.

"In 21st century Britain, many town and city dwellers may never have seen the Milky Way – our home galaxy – and will only catch the faintest glimpse of a handful of the brightest stars."

"But there is an antidote to the bright lights of big city living – an oasis of velvety darkness where even the faintest stars in the firmament reveal themselves in all their sparkling glory."

The stargazing festival kicks off on Saturday, February 10, with a look at 'Superfoods Under Dark Skies' at Dolphinholme, before examining 'How Big Is Space' with Matthew Savage at Stocks Reservoir the next night.

An observatory open evening is planned, alongside children's watercolour workshops at Scorton and smartphone sky photography sessions during the following week.

'The Moon and Your Shadow' is pencilled in for Friday, February 16, at Newton-in-Bowland.

Other activities such as a campfire and lanterns night in Dunsop Bridge and stargazing in Downham are already fully booked.

For further details about activities go online to www.forestofbowland.com or call the Dunsop Bridge AONB office on 01200 448000.