International Dark Sky Sanctuary
Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island)
Known as the Island of 20,000 Saints, Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island in English) is situated off the Llŷn Peninsula in the Welsh county of Gwynedd. Remnants of Iron Age huts and the island’s first monastery dating to the sixth century are a testament to the site’s rich human history. It is protected under several national conservation programs and is renowned for its wildlife and rugged natural beauty. The island is home to the Bardsey Bird and Field Observatory and is part of the Llŷn Peninsula Heritage Coast. The Bardsey Island Trust (BITL), a non-profit organization, owns and manages the island.
A network of advocates and stakeholders from Wales and the UK have worked closely with BITL to conserve the island’s natural resources for many years. As part of their work, volunteers have extensively documented the island’s night sky quality conditions using sky quality meters and photography, demonstrating that it remains as pristine as it was for its first inhabitants and worthy of protection.
To maintain this exceptional night sky quality, a Lighting Management Plan was developed to guide future decisions about the use of lighting and focuses on guidelines for proposed development throughout the county. The BITL and partners are also conducting outreach to encourage communities across the Llŷn Peninsula to adopt similar plans and are leading educational campaigns to raise awareness.
On-site, the Bird Observatory offers regular interactive programs about the region’s nocturnal birds who nest on the island. Educational materials highlighting ecology and heritage, including dark-sky philosophy, practice, and importance, are available for all visitors and guests.
The island is accessible year-round, although winter weather can make regular access difficult. The best time to visit is between April and November. All visitor revenue and grants go toward maintaining the island’s resources and conservation efforts.
Click here to find ideal environmental conditions for viewing the night sky at Ynys Enlli, (52.7595, -4.7861). Don’t forget to plan your trip during the new moon and astronomical twilight to enhance the viewing experience!