A Dark Sky Sanctuary is a protected area that has exceptional starry skies and where measures are taken to limit light pollution. It is a place where people can come to observe the night sky in its natural state without the interference of artificial lighting.
Ynys Enlli off Welsh coast was designated by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), a Dark Sky Sanctuary, being first site in Europe to receive the certification. Wales is quickly becoming one of the “leading nations in protecting dark skies as a precious resource that benefits people and wildlife,” says the non-profit organisation IDA. Ynys Enlli joined the exclusive list of just 16 other sites around the world, that have been recognised as places of exceptional natural beauty and are protected for future generations to enjoy.
Ynys Enlli, also known as Bardsey Island, is a rugged and remote island that is only accessible by boat, located off the coast of North Wales in the United Kingdom. The island has a long and fascinating history, dating back to the time of the Celts and the early Christian Church. In the early Middle Ages, it was a centre of pilgrimage, and many religious communities were established on the island, and it is said to be the burial place of many Welsh princes.
Today, Ynys Enlli is a nature reserve and a popular destination for walkers, birdwatchers, and those seeking a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of modern life. The island is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including seals, dolphins, and many species of seabirds. Visitors can also explore the island’s many historic sites, including the remains of the medieval monastery and the lighthouse, which was built in the 19th century.
“Living here, I am always in awe of the island’s beauty – and the night sky is very much a part of that. Having secured the certification, we look forward to welcoming visitors here over the coming months and years and sharing with them our unique story. We knew we lived in a special place, this new status confirms this, with IDSS putting Enlli firmly on the global stage. In a world that’s increasingly being polluted, it’s a privilege to be able to work towards protecting something that is pristine for future generations,” said Mari Huws, one of the Wardens that has been part of the certification process.