East Dean and Friston

Hedgehog Street Stargazing

Stargazing Evening - Friday 22nd March 


East Dean and Friston Hedgehog Street Group are pleased to announce that the Seven Sisters Astronomy Group has offered to host a stargazing evening at the Crowlink car park on Friday 22nd March from 7pm, subject to clear weather conditions. They will be bringing several telescopes so that we can hopefully view Jupiter, Mercury, star cluster Pleiades, Orion Nebula, the Moon plus many more objects of the night sky. The event will be free. 

We are hoping the event will help to promote the importance of dark skies not only for astronomers but also for hedgehogs and nature in general. We are fortunate to live in the South Downs National Park, a Dark Sky Reserve, and are encouraging residents to minimise the intrusion and recognised detrimental effect of outside lighting.

An article by the Royal Horticultural Society highlights the detrimental effects of artificial light on wildlife and offers advice on how to reduce the impact.  Light pollution from inappropriately positioned security lighting is often the worst culprit but all forms of artificial lighting (including LEDs and halogen) have an impact:

• Nocturnal insects use natural light sources, such as the moon, and can become disorientated by artificial light, increasing their risk of predation and reducing their efficiency as nocturnal pollinators. Light proves to be fatally attractive for hundreds of insects each night.

• Many bat species avoid lit areas and although some take advantage of the accumulation of insects at artificial lights to hunt, it opens them up to the risk of predation.

• Lights may temporarily blind some animals e.g. frogs, and deter others e.g. hedgehogs.

• Birds are disturbed from sleep by sudden lighting. Owls find hunting more difficult and birds that start migration flights at night can become disorientated.

• Shorter periods of night time darkness mean less time for foraging for crepuscular (dawn/dusk) or nocturnal species.

• Under polarised light mayflies and other aquatic insects can mistake impermeable non-aquatic surfaces for water and lay their eggs there, where they will fail.


Since artificial lights disrupt natural behaviour it's important to retain dark areas and question whether lighting is needed.  For when deemed essential:

• Position as low as possible and aim them downwards, not up and out. 

• Fit hoods over the light to reduce light pollution of the night sky.

• Turn off when not in use. Use carefully positioned PIR motion sensors.

• Choose low-intensity lighting and warmer hues (warm white, yellow or amber).

More information is on the RHS website. https://www.rhs.org.uk/wildlife/garden-lighting-effects-on-wildlife

If you would like to come along, dress up warmly and bring a flask! It would be helpful to get an idea of numbers so if possible email to let us know you will be there. As the event is weather dependent, check with us on the day to confirm the event is going ahead.

Hope to see some of you there.


Sue Pettifor

Hedgehog Street