Worldwide Lighthouses

Lundy Old Lighthouse

Lundy Old

General Information


Established: 1819

Current Lighthouse Built: 1819

Operator: English Heritage

Designer: Joseph Nelson

Light Information


The old lighthouse on lundy island was built in 1819 at a cost of £10,276 19s.11d to mark what is the largest island in the Bristol channel - it is aproximately 12 miles from the mainland and has a resident population of less than 28 people. The 29 metre high tower was built of local granite blocks, (varying in size at different heights up the tower) which were mined and shaped on the island, before being assembled on chapel hill - this was topped by a glazed lantern with a full-circle gallery, housing a rotating fresnel lens.

The light was soon found to have major problems; It flashed too fast and from a distance no period of darkness was obvious; making it appear to be fixed. Another problem was the smaller red sector light shone from a window lower in the tower, (Just below the gallery) which at a distance merged with the main light and was indistinguishable a fixed red light. (The window, which was filled in after this, is still obvious, and the plinth which can be seen sticking out of the tower was an attempt to rectify the issue of the merging lights)

Like many lights of the time, the tower was also often shrouded by fog, as it was built at the highest point of the island - the idea of building a lighthouse as high as possible quickly proved to be a bad mistake.

In 1861 a fog signal battery, was built a short way down a cliff, not far from the light - this consisted of a cannon building, a gun platform, an amunition hut and a house, as the station was provided with keepers seperate from the lighthouse. A canon was fired once every 10 minutes from the battery, to warn of fog, which was later replaced by the firing of gun cotton and explosive charges. The use of bells and whistles, which often proved to be inaudible over the sound of crashing waves were also tested at the fog battery.

In 1897, both the lighthouse and fog gun station were abandoned and were replaced with two lighthouses and two fog signals - one at each end of the 3 mile long island. This is presumably when testing of fog signals moved to Dungeness.

It is possible to visit all lundy lighthouses and the battery in one trip and the old lighthouse is open to be climbed.