The sky’s the limit for stargazers at prehistoric site

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Stargzing with Cadw © Allan Trow, Dark Skies Wales

Stargazing with Cadw

Visitors to Anglesey’s legendary burial chamber, Bryn Celli Ddu, will literally be able to see the Neolithic site in a different light as part of weekend of exciting events celebrating its incredible history.

For the weekend of June 16/17, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service (Cadw), has organised events including stargazing and a celebration of the Neolithic period in Wales.

On Friday, June 16, Cadw will invite stargazers young and old to bring along telescopes or binoculars to the prehistoric site to catch a glimpse of the night sky over North Wales. 

The event is a collaboration between Cadw and Dark Sky Wales, which has previously hosted successful astronomy sessions at Tintern Abbey and Beaumaris Castle.

From 9.30pm, visitors aged 12 and above will learn how to navigate via star maps while discovering constellations of the northern hemisphere and deep sky objects such as the Orion Nebula.

They will then be shown how to set up a telescope before photographing some of the magnificent views on offer. For those without their own stargazing equipment, there will be small amount available to use on the night. 

On Saturday, June 17, an open day celebrating the Neolithic period in Wales will take place at the site.

There will be live flint knapping demonstrations and a chance to meet Neolithic characters, and have a go at making pots like those found at the tomb. 

Visitors will get the chance to find out more about Cadw’s current excavations of the Bronze Age cairn in the field next door, with live tours of the open trenches there.

There’s also the unique opportunity to talk to members of the Anglesey Druid Order about the significance of the sunrise of the Solstice at Bryn Celli Ddu. 

To mark the event Cadw has also released an incredible CGI five-minute reconstruction of the tomb, which sees the site restored to its former glory.

Known as one of the most evocative archaeological sites in Britain, the 5,000-year old monument was once constructed to protect and pay respect to the remains of ancestors. 

Allan Trow, Manager at Dark Sky Wales, said: “It’s incredible to host stargazing events against the dramatic backdrop of historic sites, and we’re very excited to see the stars over this stunning part of Wales.
“The astronomy workshop will take visitors on an intriguing journey through the night-sky, where they will discover stories of the stars and learn about constellations.”

Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, said: “2017 is Wales’s Year of Legends, and this summer, we’re bringing visitors a programme of unique events and experiences that aim to bring Wales’s most impressive historic sites to life in a legendary way.
“The arrival of the Cadw Dragon family, along with CGI reconstructions and a brand new virtual reality app are all ways to promote our historic environment to a new audience, and we hope that the stargazing events will help to do just that.”

Visitors to Cadw sites are encouraged to share their legendary experiences on social media by using the hashtag #LivetheLegends.

For full summer events listings, visit our Event Finder, find Cadw on Facebook or follow @CadwWales on Twitter.