Event Diary

Gain an out of this world experience at stargazing events


We are proud to announce our first ever StarFest!

Join us in a wealth of star and space-themed activities over the weekend of 22nd to 24th February 2019. There will be stargazing in the evenings, and family-friendly workshops and events during the day. Come along for a single event, or book into several over the weekend.

Highlights include:

  • Interactive virtual reality workshops with Space Detectives (pre-booking required)
  • Travelling Planetarium Show, with Astronomer Bob Mizon
  • Stargazing with Wessex Astronomical Association
  • Storytelling experience
  • Astrophotography advice and demonstration
  • Face painting

The Space Detectives workshops must be pre-booked: Please ring the AONB on 01725 517417 or email us on (charges/donations for individual events are payable on the day).

Starfest Events

Starfest Events Guide

Enjoy an amazing planetarium experience with Bob Mizon (of Wessex Astronomy and the Commission for Dark Skies). Marvel at the constellations as Bob regales you with star facts and stories. You will be sitting for half an hour, so warm clothing and a cushion is recommended! A family-friendly show for all ages.

Space Detectives ( is led by Jo Richardson, who has a passion for sharing the awe-inspiring nature of space and astronomy. Join her for one of her interactive space workshops, and get to grips with some interactive virtual reality:

  • On board the ISS: A presentation and virtual reality experience about life on board the International Space Station (all ages)
  • So you want to be an astronaut: A highly interactive workshop, looking at the skills required to be an astronaut. (ages 7 to 14).
  • In the night sky: Learn about all aspects of observing the night sky. Includes virtual reality, and some real stargazing (weather permitting!). (all ages).
  • Blast off: Rockets, astronauts and space travel (ages 4 to 11).

Stargazing: We will begin with a presentation and look at an online Stargazing app (Stellarium), followed by stargazing with local astronomers.

Location and travel information:

Church Farm Caravanning & Camping Park,
High Street,
Sixpenny Handley,

The site is within 300 m of Sixpenny Handley High Street (B3081).
Hanlega’s Restaurant at the camping park will be open for refreshments for the weekend.

Stargazing Evenings

The Cranborne Chase AONB’s stargazing evenings have proved incredibly popular, with numerous night sky enthusiasts turning up to listen to the experts pointing out some of the hundreds of spectacular constellations in the pristine night skies above the Cranborne Chase AONB.

If you missed those events earlier in the year, there are more coming up in our special stargazing series, during which astronomer Bob Mizon regales the audience with stories of the astronomical wonders above their heads, while the AONB’s Dark Skies Advisor Amanda Scott details developments concerning the Cranborne Chase AONB’s bid for prestigious International Dark Sky Reserve status.

Afterwards, the audience join Bob and members of the Wessex Astronomical Society outside for a spectacular stargazing experience.

Upcoming Events

So far, we have three events planned for 2018/19. All events commence at 7pm and last for around two to two-and-a-half hours, depending on weather conditions. The cost for adults is £5 each (cash or cheque on the night/includes a free tea or coffee), with no charge for children. Please book in advance, tel: 01725 517417, or email:

Events coming up:

29th January 2019, at 7pm: 1st Woodcutts Scout Group HQ, Sixpenny Handley, Dorset SP5 5NW

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