Hartland Point Lighthouse

Hartland Point Lighthouse

Hartland Point Lighthouse marks the passage between Lundy Island and the Devon coast.  It stands on a promontory at the western approaches to the Bristol Channel.

The lighthouse was built in 1874 by Yerward of Wales and under the supervision of Sir James Douglass.

It was officially opened on 1st July 1874 by Lady Stuckley of Hartland Abbey and blessed by the Bishop of Exeter, Frederick Temple.  Tower had a first-order rotating optic manufactured by Chance Brothers of Smethwick.  Its character was flashing alternate red and white every 30 seconds.

A reed fog signal was installed sounding once every two minutes.  Later a siren replaced the reed signal, and a further reed horn was installed in 1911.  The fog signal was located in a building close to the lighthouse.

Hartland Point

The tower stands below an exposed rock which is subject to frequent erosion.  Various attempts were made to prevent the sea from undermining the rock.  But in 1925 a barrier and sea wall was built to help protect the building.

In 1927 the lighthouse was electrified, and a new biform third order Chance Brothers optic was installed.  A new diaphone fog signal was also installed.  It was connected to mains electricity in 1959.

Hartland Point 1955
Hartland Point circa 1955
Photo: John Frost Collection

The lighthouse had a large dwelling alongside the tower.  Four lighthouse keepers lived in the accommodation with their families.

In 1984 the lighthouse was automated and most of the dwellings were demolished to allow for a helipad to be built alongside the tower. This improved access to the station, as the access road was subject to frequent landslides.

The fog signal was discontinued in 2010.

In 2010 Trinity House announced its intention to discontinue the lighthouse. However, in 2012 the tower was decommissioned but a new light was exhibited from an alternative structure in front of the tower.  The solar-powered LED beacon is visible at a reduced range of 8 miles.

Following decommissioning, the tower, buildings and adjacent land were sold privately. 

The biform optic had been placed in storage in Ilfracombe during restoration work, with the intention to reinstate it in the tower.  However, in January 2022 the optic was reported stolen, and a reward was offered for its return.

Established: 1874
Engineer: James Douglass
Light Character: Fl (6) W 15 s
Light Range: 8 miles
Elevation: 30 metres
Automated: 1984