We tend to look at landscapes as everything up to the horizon, but there's much more above. Miller's Huts Dorset is situated on the edge of Cranborne Chase AONB, an exceptionally tranquil, deeply rural area, where we have access to some of the darkest skies in the whole country. Gazing skyward you can enjoy hundreds of spectacular constellations. With 80% of UK residents living under light polluted skies, we see thousands of stars overhead compared with a handful seen from towns and cities. Bring binoculars because from July to Christmas you can enjoy the Milky Way in all its glory; in the winter star clusters, and in the spring planets and galaxies. There is a copy of Steve Tonkin's book 'Looking Through Binoculars' to borrow, there are also some great apps that will help point you in the right direction. Whilst you can enjoy stars from your hut, other local places have vast swathes of sky to star gaze:
FONTMELL & MELBURY DOWNS at the top of this reserve enjoy stunning views over the Blackmore Vale, by night it offers fantastic panoramic views of the skies (3 miles, Spreadeagle Hill, or walk up Melbury Beacon from the huts).
WIN GREEN a prominent landmark (4.5 miles, Ludwell).
BADBURY RINGS an Iron Age hill fort (16.5 miles, Kingston Lacey).
KNOWLTON CHURCH, a 12th century Norman church built in the middle of a Neolithic earthwork (15 miles, Knowlton).
You can be a novice with a casual interest or a professional to uncover secrets of the universe. The AONB has gained international recognition for its dark skies and designated an International Dark Sky Reserve. Our dark skies are good for nocturnal wildlife, owls and moths and offer a different perspective as you encounter their world. Enjoy a night walk where landscapes are discovered anew, when the country seems yours alone and seldom glimpsed wildlife emerges to startle and thrill.