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 Southwestern 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 to form the Bristol Channel. 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
Photographers 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.
Lighthouses in England
Photos available from Wikimedia; many of these photos were first posted on Geograph.org.uk.
Lighthouses in England
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.
Britische 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.


Blacknore Point Light, Portishead, March 2010
Geograph Creative Commons photo by Philip Halling

Somerset Lighthouses

West Somerset Lighthouses
* Watchet Harbour
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, Adrian Moore has a closeup, Wikimedia has photos, and Google has a satellite view and a distant 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 Harbour 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, 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 1316. 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, but only the top of the tower is seen in Google's street 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. Located on the oceanfront Esplanade at Myrtle Drive in Burnham-on-Sea. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: private. ARLHS ENG-323.
* Burnham-on-Sea (2) Low
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 Mike 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. Photographer's Resource has a good page for the light, Trabas has a photo by Ian Wright, another good photo is available, Wikimedia has several photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, 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. 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 right, Burnham-on-Sea.com has a good photo, Tony Denton's photo on Lighthouse Explorer shows the red stripe, another good photo is available, Wikimedia has two photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The tower remains in service as a day range. The building, known locally as the Pillar Lighthouse, 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. 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 manager: private. ARLHS ENG-018.

North Somerset Lighthouses
* Blacknore Point
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 the top of this page, Kevin Cotterell has a lovely 2007 photo, Photographer's Resource has a page for the light, and Bing 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. 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; Admiralty A5482; 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, Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. Prefabricated by Chance Brothers, this light is the only surviving example of its type. Endangered: poorly maintained, the tower is rusting and there is a danger it will be scrapped and replaced. The fog bell formerly mounted on the front of the tower has been donated to the town and will be displayed near High Street and Wyndham Way in downtown Portishead. 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.
Burham-on-Sea High Light
Burnham-on-Sea High Light, July 2007
Geograph Creative Commons photo by Steve Fareham

Bristol City and County Lighthouses

Avonmouth 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.
Avonmouth South Pier
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. 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 from many locations on the waterfront in Avonmouth. Operator: Bristol Port Company. ARLHS ENG-202; Admiralty A5492.21; NGA 6032.
Avonmouth North Pier
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 from many locations on the waterfront in Avonmouth. Operator: Bristol Port Company. ARLHS ENG-003; Admiralty A5492; NGA 6024.
Lightship John Sebastian
Lightship John Sebastian, Bristol, September 2010
Geograph Creative Commons photo by Thomas Nugent

Gloucestershire Lighthouses

South Gloucestershire Lighthouse
* #Sheperdine (Shepperdine) Range Rear (2)
1906 (station established 1886). Demolished sometime in 2010 or 2011, this was a 12 m (39 ft) square cast iron skeletal tower with lantern and gallery. Tower painted black, lantern white; the tower also carried a vertically slatted white daymark under the gallery. Trabas has a good photo, and Google has a satellite view. The original light was on a wood post. The new light (focal plane 13 m (43 ft); continuous white light) is on a steel pole. 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, 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: Gloucester Harbour 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.

Gloucester Lightship
** 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, Mike Hartland has a December 2011 photo, 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. As of summer 2010, the renovation was nearly 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. Located on the west side of the canal between Llanthony Road and St. Ann's Way in downtown Gloucester. Site and vessel open. Owner: Lightship Therapies.

Forest of Dean (Severn North Shore) Lighthouses
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 on an industrial property in Beachley. Site and tower closed, but the light can be seen from Beachey Road. Operator: Gloucester Harbour Trustees. 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.
Lightship Sula
Lightship Sula, Gloucester, July 2011
Geograph Creative Commons photo by Chris Allen
Chapel Rock (2)
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) square cast iron skeletal tower with gallery. Tower painted black, gallery white. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view and a very distant street view. This lighthouse replaced 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:

  •  Avonmouth (1839-1902). The lighthouse was demolished to make way for the Avonmouth Docks. ARLHS ENG-335.

Notable faux lighthouses:

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Adjoining pages: South: Southwestern England | West: Wales

Return to the Lighthouse Directory index | Ratings key

Posted November 23, 2004. Checked and revised June 24, 2014. Lighthouses: 17; lightships: 2. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.