Cat Cairn: the Kielder Skyspace - James Turrell 2000


A sculptural artwork on Cat Cairn, a rocky outcrop overlooking Kielder Water and Forest Park. Visitors to the Skyspace will find themselves in a circular room where the artist manipulates our normal perceptions of light and space. In daylight hours, this chamber; illuminated only by natural light through the roof opening, is a contemplative space that focuses the visitor's attention on the sky. During the changing light conditions at dusk, the lighting system becomes active and visitors can expect to experience a rich unforgettable display of tone and colour.

"My work is not so much about my seeing as about your seeing. There is no one between you and your experience". James Turrell.

In spring 2018 Kielder Skyspace underwent a major refurbishment that included replacing or updating all of the lighting and power equipment

The lighting programme has been designed by James Turrell working closely with lighting artist Eleanor Bell and differs fundamentally from the original system. When first installed in 2000, fibre optics provided a constant level of light in the chamber throughout the daytime to night time transition.

The LED set up delivers far more even and much brighter illumination and incorporates a digitally controlled lighting programme that varies the intensity of the lighting throughout the period of transition - about an hour in total starting at sunset each day.

Important note: occasionally the short, overcast days can cause a problem with the solar-powered lighting at the Skyspace artwork. The solar panels are not generating enough power on some days to fully charge the batteries, so the evening light show isn't always working. We are doing our best to remedy this, but there will be some occasions when the light show won't come on in the evenings. We apologise for any inconvenience.

Please see for further information on lighting times generally.

The enhancement of Skyspace was supported by Arts Council England, the Henry Moore Foundation, Northumberland County Council and Forestry England.   

Please note:-

The nearest public parking is at the car park sited just off the C200 at the bottom of the forest road signposted to the Skyspace, and beyond to the Observatory.

Walking to the Skyspace takes around 45 minutes, by bicycle, approximately 20 minutes depending on ability. The return downhill trip is considerably quicker by bicycle. Visitors should note that the Skyspace is approximately 360 feet/110m higher than the bottom car park and while the route is not a difficult walk, the additional elevation makes the site more exposed, and it is often colder and windier up on the hill.



Ticketing information

Type Entry for Guide price
Free 1
per ticket