Lighthouses of Western England
This page lists lighthouses of the English west coast in the historic
counties of Somerset and Gloucestershire. Lighthouses of the neighboring counties of Devon and Cornwall
are listed on the Southwest England page.
These lighthouses guide vessels on the upper part of the Bristol Channel and its extension, the lower estuary of the River Severn. The city of
Bristol lies on the River Avon to the south of the Severn but its deepwater
port is at Avonmouth, where the Avon and Severn join. Small craft can also reach the port of Gloucester via the Severn and
the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.
The British system of lighthouse administration is decentralized, with
the major towers under the management of Trinity
House (a corporation chartered by the Crown) and smaller towers generally
under the control of local port authorities. This system has generally
assisted lighthouse preservation, and so has the British custom of building
very sturdy stone lighthouses at most of the stations.
ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty
numbers are from Volume A of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog
Signals. U.S. NGA numbers are from Publication 114.
- General Sources
Resource - Lighthouses
- A comprehensive guide to British lighthouses, with multiple photos
and historical notes for many of the light stations.
- Online List
of Lights - England
- Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
- Lighthouse Compendium
- There is lots of useful information on this site by Michael Millichamp,
including his Guide to English
and Welsh Lights, an inventory of surviving English and Welsh lighthouses.
- Leuchttürme in Grossbritannien
- Photos by Andreas Köhler.
- Lighthouses in England
- Photos available from Wikimedia; many of these photos were first posted on Geograph.org.uk.
- United Kingdom Lighthouses
- Aerial photos posted by Marinas.com.
- Trinity House
- Chartered by Henry VIII in 1514, Trinity House has built and operated
lighthouses in Britain for nearly 500 years.
Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
- Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
- Association of Lighthouse Keepers
- Founded by serving and retired keepers, this lighthouse association
is open to everyone.
- Navigational chart information for the area.
Burnham-on-Sea High Light, July 2007
Geograph Creative Commons photo by Steve Fareham
- West Somerset Lighthouses
- * Watchet
- 1862. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); continuous green light. 6.5 m (22
ft) hexagonal cast iron tower with lantern. Tower painted orange red; lantern
is white with a dark green roof. Trabas has a photo
by Klaus Kern, Nigel Chadwick has a 2010 photo,
Wikimedia has photos, and Google has a satellite
view and a closeup street view. Princess Anne attended ceremonies in September 2012 marking the 150th anniversary of the lighthouse. Located at the the end of the breakwater on the west side of the
harbor at Watchet; accessible by walking the breakwater. Site open, tower
closed. Owner: West Somerset
Council. Operator/site manager: Watchet
Marina. ARLHS ENG-174; Admiralty A5584; NGA 6196.
- Hinkley Point
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 7.5 m (25 ft); two continuous green lights, one above the other. Lights mounted on the water intake structure of the Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station. Trabas has a photo and Google has a satellite view. Located about 600 m (3/8 mi) offshore from the power station, 10 km (6 mi) west of Burnham-on-Sea. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty A5582; NGA 6168.
Sedgemoor District (Burnham-on-Sea) Lighthouses
- * Burnham-on-Sea Seafront Range
Rear (St. Andrew's Church)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (40 ft); continuous red light. 11
m (36 ft) square stone church tower. Trabas has a photo by Klaus Kern, Matt Johnson has a photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite
view. The light is mounted on the tower of the St.
Andrew's Church, a building that dates from 1315. The tower has a slight
lean, centuries old, due to sinking foundations. The front
light is on a lamppost-style mast. According to local historians, a light
was displayed from this church tower in the 1700s to guide local fishermen.
In 1801 the light was moved to the Round Tower (next entry) and then in
1832 to the Trinity House range lights. Located just a few feet southwest
of the Round Tower off the Esplanade in Burnham-on-Sea.
Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: St.
Andrew's Church. Admiralty A5572.1; NGA 6180.
- * Burnham-on-Sea
(1) (Burnham Old, "Round Tower")
- 1801 (David Davies). Inactive since 1832. 2-story masonry tower
with castellated top. Google has a satellite view. Originally four stories tall, the tower was reduced in height
so that it would not be confused with the Burnham High Light. Built
privately by the local curate, the lighthouse has always been known
locally as the Round Tower. The building has been converted to a guest house; overnight accommodations are available. Located on the oceanfront Esplanade at
Myrtle Drive in Burnham-on-Sea. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site
manager: Round Tower Guest House . ARLHS ENG-323.
- * Burnham-on-Sea
- 1832 (Joseph Nelson). Reactivated (inactive 1969-1996); focal plane
7 m (23 ft); white flash every 7.5 s; a directional light (white,
red, or green depending on direction) is shown at a focal plane of
4 m (13 ft). 9 m (30 ft) square wooden tower with a conical roof
mounted on 9 timber pilings. The tower has two windows, and as Michael
Warren's photo at right shows, the white light is mounted in front
of the upper window and the directional light is inside the lower
window. Lighthouse painted white with a single vertical red stripe
on the front face. Trabas has a photo
by Ian Wright, another good photo
is available, Wikimedia has several photos, Huelse has a historic postcard
view, Constantin Ciobanu has a street view from the beach, and Google has a satellite view. In April 2009 the district council announced plans to restore
the historic stairway, which was removed in 1984 due to storm damage.
The stairs were rebuilt in 2010 and the lighthouse was repainted. Chris McAuley's 2012 photo shows the stairway. The lighthouse was again repaired and repainted in 2016. Located on a broad beach about 1 km (0.6 mi) north of the center of
Burnham-on-Sea. Site open, tower closed. Owner/operator: Sedgemoor
District Council. ARLHS ENG-019; Admiralty A5570; NGA 6172.
Burnham-on-Sea Lower Light, March 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo
by Michael Warren
- * Burnham-on-Sea
(2) High ("Pillar Lighthouse")
- 1832. Inactive since 1996. 30 m (99 ft) brick tower with a conical
roof and a half gallery on the front, incorporating keeper's quarters.
Tower painted white with a red vertical stripe on the range line.
Steve Fareham's photo is at the top of this page, Tony Denton's photo in Lighthouse Digest shows the red stripe,
another good photo is available, Wikimedia has several photos, Huelse has a historic postcard
view, and Google has a street view and a satellite
view. The tower remains in service as the rear beacon of a day range. Known locally as the Pillar Lighthouse, the building
was sold as a private residence.
In 1996 it was bought at auction by Patrick O'Hagan, who renovated
the building and made it available for overnight accommodations. In May 2018 the lighthouse was listed for sale at £525,000. Located
on Berrow Road just north of Stodden's Road in Burnham-on-Sea, about
500 m (0.4 mi) east of the low light. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site
North Somerset Lighthouses
- * Blacknore
- 1894. Inactive since 2011. 11
m (36 ft) round, 6-legged cast iron tower with enclosed watch room, lantern
and gallery, all painted white. 4th order Fresnel lens. Philip Halling's
photo is at right, Kevin Cotterell has a lovely 2007 photo, Photographer's Resource has a page for the light, Wikimedia has several photos, Ian Knox has a 2017 photo, Marc Ward-Jenkins has a street view, and Google has a satellite view. An unusually well preserved late nineteenth century prefabricated
lighthouse. In May 2010 Trinity House confirmed its intention to discontinue
the light within the next few years, and the deactivation took place sometime
early in 2011. Villagers created the Blacknore Lighthouse Trust to maintain the tower, and in January 2012 ownership was transferred to the trust. In November Trinity House returned the lens to the lighthouse after reaching a loan agreement with the Trust. The lighthouse was repainted in 2016 with contributed labor and materials. Located on the south shore of the Severn about 3 km (2 mi)
west of Portishead; accessible by road or on the Somerset Coastal Path.
Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Blacknore Lighthouse Trust. ARLHS ENG-012; ex-Admiralty A5482; ex-NGA 6148.
- * Portishead
Point (Battery Point)
- 1931. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); three quick white flashes every 10
s. 9 m (29 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery, partially enclosed,
mounted on a square concrete base. Tower painted black, contrasting with the
white concrete of the base.
Lighthouse connected to shore by an elevated walkway. Photographer's Resource
has a page for the light, Trabas has a closeup photo by Arno Siering, Derek Harper has a 2010 photo,
another photo is available, Wikimedia has several photos, Marc Ward-Jenkins has a 2014 street view, and Google has a satellite view. Prefabricated by Chance Brothers, this light is the only surviving
example of its type. For years the light was poorly maintained and rusting, but more recent photos show it to be repainted and restored. The fog bell formerly mounted on the front of the tower was donated to the town and is displayed in the median of Wyndham Way near High Street in downtown Portishead; Google has a street view. Located on a promontory
just off Esplanade Road on the south shore of the Severn in Portishead, about
3 km (2 mi) west of the mouth of the Avon. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Bristol Port Company. ARLHS ENG-106;
Admiralty A5484; NGA 6144.
Blacknore Point Light, Portishead, March 2010
Geograph Creative Commons photo by Philip Halling
Bristol City and County Lighthouses
- * Trinity
House Lightship 55 John Sebastian
- 1886. Decommissioned 1953. 31.4 m (103 ft) wood lightship; the small
lantern is atop a cylindrical mast amidships. Hull and mast painted
red, superstructure white. Thomas Nugent's photo appears at right,
Linda Bailey has a good photo,
and Google has a street view and a fine satellite
view. This is the only surviving wooden lightship in Britain,
if we except the wrecked Gull at Grays on the Thames. She served
many stations, most recently the English and Welsh Grounds station
in Bristol Channel (1939-1942 and 1947-1953). Sold for scrap, the
ship was salvaged by breakers who removed most of the original equipment.
Beached for burning, the ship was saved after nearby landowners objected.
In 1955 she was purchased by the Cabot Cruising Club and since then
she has been well maintained as the club's headquarters. Moored at
Bathurst Basin, on Commercial Road at Lower Guinea Street, just off
the River Avon in Bristol. Site open, ship closed to non-members.
Owner/site manager: Cabot
Cruising Club . ARLHS ENG-322.
- 1907. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); red or green light, depending
on direction, one 3 s occultation every 30 s. 9 m (30 ft) granite
tower with lantern and gallery. Tower unpainted, lantern painted white.
Fog bell (stroke every 10 s). The Bristol Port Company has a closeup photo, Trabas has a distant photo,
and Google has a satellite
view. Located at the end of the pier on the southwest side of
the mouth of the River Avon. Site and tower closed; the pier is not
open for walking. Visible at a distance. Operator: Bristol
Port Company. ARLHS ENG-202; Admiralty A5492.21; NGA 6032.
- 1908. Active; focal plane 15 m (50 ft); white flash every 4 s. 16 m (53
ft) granite tower with lantern and gallery. Tower unpainted, lantern painted
white. Trabas has a good photo,
Steve Fareham has a distant view, and Google has a satellite
view. Located at the end of the pier on the northeast side of the mouth
of the River Avon. Site and tower closed; the pier is not open for walking.
Visible at a distance. Operator: Bristol
Port Company. ARLHS ENG-003; Admiralty A5492; NGA 6024.
Lightship John Sebastian, Bristol, September 2010
Geograph Creative Commons photo
by Thomas Nugent
- King Road Range Rear
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); quick-flashing red light. 13 m (43 ft) skeletal tower with a small lantern and gallery, painted red; lantern painted white. A distant view is available and Google has a satellite view. This is the approach range for the Port of Bristol. The front light is on a small obelisk beside the North Pier lighthouse. Located 546 m (0.34 mi) north east of the front light. Site and tower closed. Admiralty A5494.1; NGA 6040.
- South Gloucestershire Lighthouse
- * [Sheperdine (Shepperdine) Range
- 2010 (station established 1886). Active; focal plane
13 m (43 ft); continuous white light. 12 m (39 ft) steel mast. Trabas has Köhler's photo and Google has a satellite
view. The range guides vessels upstream on the Severn. The mast replaced the 1906 lighthouse, a 12 m (39 ft) square cast iron skeletal tower with lantern and gallery.
The tower was painted black, lantern white; the tower also carried a vertically slatted
white daymark under the gallery. The original light was on a wood post. Located on the
south side of the Severn, off Nupdown Road in Shepperdine. This is an eastbound
(inbound) range. The front
light is in a square cabinet on a concrete post. Site open, tower
closed. Operator: Gloucester
Harbour Trustees. Admiralty A5549.1.
Stroud District (Severn South Shore) Lighthouses
- * Berkeley Pill Range Front (2)
- 1937 (station established 1906). Active; focal plane 5 m (16 ft); continuous
green light. 8 m (26 ft) square cast iron skeletal tower with lantern and
gallery. Tower painted black, lantern white; the tower also carries a slatted
white daymark under the gallery. Trabas has a good photo,
Köhler has a photo, and Google has a satellite
view. This is a downstream (westbound) range. The original light was on
a wood post. Note: "pill" is the English form of the Welsh word pwl, meaning an inlet or small harbor off a larger stream. Located on the south bank of the Severn in Hamfields, near Berkeley.
Site appears closed, but the lighthouse can be seen from nearby. Operator:
Trustees. Admiralty A5556.
- * Berkeley Pill Range Rear (2)
- 1937 (station established 1906). Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); continuous
green light. 12 m (39 ft) square cast iron skeletal tower with lantern and
gallery. Tower painted black, lantern white; the tower also carries a slatted
white daymark under the gallery. Trabas has a good photo,
David Collins has a distant view,
and Google has a satellite
view. The original light was on a wood post. Located on the south side
of the Severn, on Berkeley Pill in Hamfields, near Berkeley, about 175 m (190
yd) south of the front light. Site appears closed, but the lighthouse can
be seen from nearby. Operator: Gloucester
Harbour Trustees. Admiralty A5556.1.
- Trinity House Lightship 23 Planet (Bar)
- 1959. Decommissioned 1989. 40.5 m (133 ft) two-masted steel lightship
with light tower amidships, painted red. Barrie Mason's photo
is at right,
Eirian Evans has a 2009 photo, and an August 2011 photo is available.
Built by Philips & Sons Ltd. of Dartmouth. The ship served as
the Bar off the entrance to the Mersey from 1960 to 1972;
after serving several other locations she was assigned as the Channel
from 1979 to 1989. She was the last manned lightship in U.K. waters.
Saved from the scrapyard in 1992, the ship was docked for many years in
Liverpool. The Mersey
Light-Vessel Preservation Society tried to raise funds to buy and
restore her, but in 2005 the ship was sold to a new owner, Gary
McClarnan. The preservation society then closed its operations. McClarnan
had the ship painted and berthed it in Liverpool at the Canning
Half Tide Dock. In 2008 McClarnan placed the ship for
sale for £139,000 and it was sold to Alan Roberts. Restored and repainted, the ship reopened in 2011 as a café and bar; it was also available for hire for special events. In 2016 Roberts launched a fundraising drive to raise £10,000 for unpaid past and future berthing fees. Apparently this effort failed and in September 2016 the Canal and River Trust seized the ship and towed it to a storage location at the Sharpness Docks. The Trust put the ship up for sale to settle its debts while preservationists petitioned for its return. In early 2017 the Trust announced that the ship had been sold, but the sale brought only £12,500.The buyer's identity is not known. There are reports that the ship will be repaired and placed back on sale. Moored at Sharpness Docks in Sharpness; Google has a satellite view. Owner: private. ARLHS ENG-065.
Lightship 23 Bar, Liverpool, May 2011
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Barrie Mason
- ** Humber
Conservancy Board Lightship 14 Sula (Spurn, Beaucette, Conwy, Haven)
- 1959 (Cook, Welton and Gemmell, Beverley, Yorkshire). Decommissioned 1985.
34.75 m (114 ft) steel lightship; round skeletal light tower with lantern
and gallery amidships. Entire vessel painted red. Chris Allen's July 2011 photo is at right, and Google has a September 2013 closeup street view and a satellite
view. The ship served its entire
career in the North Sea on the Spurn station, where it replaced Lightship
12 (now at the Hull Marina in downtown Hull). Sold in 1987, it became
the Beaucette, the club ship of the Beaucette Yacht Club in Guernsey,
Channel Islands. In 1989 the marina owners moved it to their marina at Conwy,
in North Wales, where it was known briefly as the Conwy. In 1990 it
was sold to the Milford Haven Port Authority in South Wales. Renamed Haven,
it was moored at the Milford Marina as a tourist attraction. In
1997 it was sold to English investors who planned to use the vessel as
an adventure center at Bantry in the south of Ireland. These plans did
not bear fruit and for most of the next decade the ship was moored off
Bear Island at Castletownbere, County Cork. Trevor O'Hanlon has a 2004 photo of the ship in Ireland. The ship was moved to a scrapyard in Waterford later
in 2004 but it was not scrapped. In June 2007 it was sold to new owners, Jan and Agnes van der Elsen,
who planned to use it as an alternative healing center at Gloucester. In November
it was towed across the Irish Sea to Sharpness Shipyard, near Gloucester,
for restoration and renovation. In March 2010 the ship was renamed Sula.
By the fall of 2010 the renovation was complete
and the necessary permits to moor the ship at Llanthony Quay in Gloucester
had been approved. Ceremonies opening the vessel were held in December 2010. Doing business as Lightship
Therapies, the ship offered holistic therapy and Buddhist meditation sessions. Gloucester Docks has a page created for the ship in this period. In April 2015 owners Jan and Agnes van der Elsen closed this business and placed the ship for sale at £575,000. City officials were hopeful that a buyer could be found to keep the ship at its current location, perhaps as a restaurant. As of September 2017 the ship was still for sale at the reduced price of £450,000; a portfolio of photos is available. In early 2018 the price was again reduced to £395,000. Current information is needed. Located on the west side of the canal between Llanthony Road and St. Ann's Way in downtown Gloucester. Site and vessel
open. Owner: private.
Lightship Sula, Gloucester, July 2011
Geograph Creative Commons photo by Chris Allen
Forest of Dean (Severn North Shore) Lighthouses
House Lightship 14 Helwick
- 1953. Decommissioned 1991. 36.3 m (119 ft) steel lightship; hexagonal
skeletal light tower with lantern and gallery amidships. Ship painted
red; lantern dome painted white. Eirian Evans has a 2008 photo, and Google has
a 2012 street view. First assigned to the Kentish Knock station, the
ship served many stations over its career, ending as the Helwick off the Gower coast from 1984 through 1989. In 1993 the ship became a Christian fellowship center moored near the Cardiff Bay Visitor
Centre in Cardiff Bay, Wales. In early 2015 the ship was sold for a nominal amount and in May it was towed upriver to Newnham on Severn, Gloucestershire, about 16 km (10 mi) southwest of Gloucester. It was to become a "floating museum," but no information on the museum plans is available. In November 2015 the ship was moored a short distance downstream from Newnham; Google has a satellite view. Site and tower closed (private property). ARLHS WAL-059.
- Inward Rocks Range Front (2?)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 10 m (33 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 8 m (26 ft) round barbell-shaped white fiberglass tower with an orange daymark at the top. Trabas
has a photo and Google has a satellite view.
This is a westbound (outbound) range. The rear
light is on a mast. Located on a prominent point about 4 km (2.5 mi) northeast of the older Severn Bridge. Site and tower closed. Operator: Gloucester
Harbour Trustees. Admiralty A5548.
- Slime Road Range Rear (2)
- 1941 (station established 1914). Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); continuous
blue light. 8 m (26 ft) square cast iron skeletal tower with lantern, gallery,
and a rectangular vertically-slatted daymark. The lantern is not in use; the
light is provided by vertical neon tubes mounted on the front of the lantern.
Tower painted black; lantern, gallery rail, and daymark painted white. Trabas
has a photo and Google has a street view and a satellite view.
This is a westbound (outbound) range. The front
light has similar neon tubes in a small cabinet. Located just inside the gate of a British Army base. Site and tower closed, but the light can be seen from Beachey Road. Operator: Gloucester
Harbour Trustees. Site manager: First Battalion The Rifles. Admiralty A5547.1.
- Lyde Rock (3)
- 2008(?) (station established 1895). Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); quick-flashing
light, white or red depending on direction. 12 m (39 ft) square cast iron
skeletal tower with gallery. Tower painted black with three white horizontal
bands. Chris Gunns has a 2009 photo,
Trabas has Arno Siering's photo, and Google has a street view and a good satellite
view. The 1895 lighthouse was destroyed in a collision with a ship. Ruth Sharville has a 2007 photo of the second (1941) light. Located on a
submerged rock on the north side of the Severn off Beachley, about 300 m (0.2
mi) upstream from the older Severn Bridge. Accessible only by boat. Site open,
tower closed. Operator: Gloucester
Harbour Trustees. Admiralty A5545.
- [Chapel Rock (3)]
- 1907 (station established 1886). Active; focal plane 6 m (20 ft); flash
every 2.6 s, white, red or green depending on direction. 8 m (26 ft) skeletal mast. Trabas has a photo,
and Google has a satellite
view and a very distant street view. This light replaced a square
cast iron skeletal tower with gallery;
Roy Parkhouse has a photo. Tower painted black, gallery white. The original lighthouse was a wood skeletal tower. Located on a rocky
shoal off Beachley, on the north side of the Severn, about 650 m (0.4 mi)
downstream from the older Severn Bridge (M-48). Accessible only by boat. Site
open, tower closed. Operator: Gloucester
Harbour Trustees. Admiralty A5541; NGA 5994.
Information available on lost lighthouses:
(1839-1902). This handsome 26 m (85 ft) octagonal stone lighthouse was demolished in 1902 to make way for the Avonmouth Docks. ARLHS ENG-335.
Notable faux lighthouses:
Adjoining pages: South: Southwestern England
| West: Wales
Return to the Lighthouse Directory index
| Ratings key
Posted November 23, 2004. Checked and revised June 7, 2019.
Lighthouses: 16; lightships: 4. Site copyright 2019 Russ Rowlett and the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.