The North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Parks’ Dark Skies Fringe Festival returns this half-term after the success of the first autumn event last year.

Within the North York Moors National Park, visitors will be able to enjoy a programme of events, including some online – from stargazing safaris, guided night walks and astrophotography evenings through to zip wire adventures.

The Festival will also act as a reminder that everybody can help protect the pristine night skies, not just for the benefit of people’s wellbeing but also safeguarding nocturnal wildlife.

In particular Mike Hawtin, the North York Moors National Park Dark Skies Officer, will share the National Park’s own journey to achieving International Dark Sky Reserve status last year and future plans.

He will also outline the steps that everybody can take to curb artificial light pollution, even if it is simply adjusting exterior lighting on homes and business premises to reduce glare.

Underlining this important message, stargazing and walking evenings will reveal the night-time splendour at natural beauty spots such as Mallyan Spout waterfall, the dramatic escarpment of Sutton Bank and the Wainstones sandstone crags.

Historic landmarks like the abbeys at Rievaulx, Byland and Whitby and Gilling Castle near Ampleforth will also act as stunning backdrops while visitors have their eyes opened to the delights of the night sky. .

For youngsters, there are also daytime activities at Sutton Bank and The Moors National Park Centre at Danby where they can learn more about nocturnal wildlife including joining a storyteller.

Mike said: “We’re keen for everybody visiting the Fringe Festival to have fun and revel in being outside after-dark, but there is a serious message to take away as well – that we can all do our bit to protect our night skies.

“It might seem trivial to adjust the angle of external LED lighting or fit motion sensors but collectively if we all take these small, simple steps, we can make a huge difference against the detrimental impact of light blight and all enjoy starrier skies.”

For the full programme and booking details go to