Nearest Lighthouses Cornwall
Lighthouses may now be automated but they still provide a critically important service to shipping. Our Lighthouse category brings all Coast Radar’s Cornwall listings related to lighthouses together, where most are positioned also in stunning and often rugged coastal landscapes.
Finding the best things to see and do on a Cornwall day out with your family or friends is easy – simply explore the lighthouse links below, hit the jump to my location button or use the search bar to plan your next Cornwall activity.
- Round Island, the most northerly outpost of the Scillies is a 40m mass of granite, the top forming a platform on which Trinity House built a lighthouse and dwellings in 1887 under conditions of extreme difficulty. The sheer rock face made the unloading of building materials almost impossible. Today the only access, apart from by helicopter, is by a flight of steps out into the solid rock.
- Owing its name to the unique howl heard when the wind filled the fissures of the rock, which is four miles south west of Lands End, or possibly too, because of the assumed shape of the rock to a wolf’s head, the station came into Trinity House history with the leasing to a Mr Henry Smith, the right to mark this marine hazard in 1791. Originally intending to build a lighthouse, Mr Smith found the task too daunting and finally constructed a wrought iron mast 6 metres high and 10 centimetres in diameter, complete with six stays and surmounted by a metal model of a wolf on the rock. This daymark, since it was not a lighted beacon, was finally erected in 1795 and was less substantial than had been specified, and although it offered little resistance to the Atlantic, the sea soon carried it away.
- Bishop Rock Lighthouse stands on a rock ledge 46m long by 16m wide, 4 miles west of the Scilly Isles. The rocks rise sheer from a depth of 45m and are exposed to the full force of the Atlantic Ocean making this one of the most hazardous and difficult sites for the building of a lighthouse. The rocks around the Scilly Isles caused the wreck of many ships over the years including the loss of Sir Cloudesley Shovel’s squadron of the British Fleet in 1707 in which 2,000 men died. The Elder Brethren of Trinity House decided that the lighting of the Scilly Isles, which at that time consisted of only the old lighthouse at St. Agnes, was inadequate, and resolved to build a lighthouse on the most westerly danger, the Bishop Rock.
- For nearly 100 years Pendeen Lighthouse has been guiding passing vessels and warning of the dangerous waters around Pendeen Watch. From Cape Cornwall the coast runs NE by E towards the Wra, or Three Stone Oar, off Pendeen. From here the inhospitable shore continues for a further eight miles or so to the Western entrance of St. Ives Bay, the principal feature here being the Gurnards Head, on which many ships have come to grief.
- Longships lighthouse is situated on on Carn Bras, the highest islet in the Longships group, at the tip of Cornwall and guides vessels through the extreme storms around the cliffs of Lands End. The original tower was built in 1795 but very high seas obscured its light and the present granite tower was built between 1869 and1873 to replace it.
- Trevose Head lighthouse’s light is situated on the north-west extremity of the head, with gigantic cliffs of grey granite rising sheer from the sea to a height of 150 feet or more. Like so much of the Devon and Cornish coastline constantly threatened by sea mists that make even the most powerful lights seem like candles. This makes it difficult to understand why a fog signal was not installed at that time. The headland is managed by the National Trust and offers large car parks and some nice walks and spectacular coastal scenery.
- Lizard Lighthouse is a landfall and coastal mark giving a guide to vessels in passage along the English Channel and warning of the hazardous waters off Lizard Point. Many stories are told of the activities of wreckers around our coasts, most of which are grossly exaggerated, but small communities occasionally and sometimes officially benefited from the spoils of shipwrecks, and petitions for lighthouses were, in certain cases, rejected on the strength of local opinion; this was particularly true in the South West of England. The distinctive twin towers of the Lizard Lighthouse mark the most southerly point of mainland Britain. The coastline is particularly hazardous, and from early times the need for a beacon was obvious. Lighthouse has a visitor centre although opening times are restricted.
- Peninnis Lighthouse on St Mary’s Island in the Scilly Isles is a small automatic lighthouse consisting of a metal tower, the upper part painted white and the lower part and cupola painted black. This lighthouse was established in 1911 when it superseded the lighthouse on St Agnes which had been in operation since 1680.
- Godrevy Island is situated 3½ miles across St.Ives Bay, where rugged cliffs rise from the sea. Gulls, oyster-catchers and pipits make their homes on the island, which is partly covered with grass, as it slopes down to the sea. In springtime, carpets of brightly coloured primroses, sea thrift and heather bring beauty to the scene, for although the island is close to the mainland, it is open to the full force of Atlantic gales. A dangerous reef extends outwards towards St.Ives, called the Stones and on this many vessels have come to grief.