Kielder Observatory scoops major award

AN ATTRACTION which helps star gazers get an unspoilt view has picked up a prestigious award.

Kielder Observatory, in Kielder Water and Forest Park, has been awarded a Civic Trust Award, which recognise outstanding architecture and commitment to planning, design and creating buildings to meet peoples' needs.

The structure of the building resembles a pier jutting out over the landscape at the top of Black Fell.

Built almost entirely of timber, the building is fully self sufficient and features include an onsite wind turbine, composting WC and wood burning stove.

Elizabeth Rowark, Kielder Partnership director, said: "We are delighted Kielder Observatory has been nominated for a Civic Trust Award as the awards not only recognise the best in the built environment, but also how the development benefits the wider community culturally, socially or economically; something very close to our hearts."

The location of the observatory – designed by Charles Barclay Architects – was chosen because Kielder Water and Forest Park is famed for having the darkest night skies in England thanks to minimal light pollution.

Gary Fildes, chairman of KOAS (Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society) which runs the observatory, said: "Kielder Observatory is a fantastic resource for all who want to visit.

"This facility is a platform to observe the wonders of this inspiring and mystical universe, from a hill top in Kielder Water and Forest Park.

"Engaging the visitor is paramount to our vision for the future of the observatory, making the science of astronomy understandable for all, for decades to come."

Anyone can visit the observatory at any time but the turrets housing the telescopes can only be operate by fully qualified members of KOAS.

For more information or event listings, visit www.kielderobservatory.org