Hurst Point Lighthouse is located at the end of the spit at Hurst Point and guides vessels through the western approaches of the Solent. The light shows the line to approach the narrow Needles Channel. There are three lighthouses in total at Hurst Point.
A light was first exhibited at Hurst Point as early as 1773. However, it was not until 1781 that shipowners and merchants formally applied to light this area of the Solent and Isle of Wight.
Trinity House built a lighthouse southwest of Hurst Castle, first exhibited on 29th September 1786. The lighthouse was designed by R Jupp, who was also responsible for designing Needles and St Catherine’s Lighthouse.
However, the new light was obscured from certain directions, so an additional lighthouse was built, forming a transit with the other lighthouse and marking the correct channel. The High Light, as it was known, was first exhibited on 27th August 1812, designed by Daniel Alexander.
Between 1865 and 1873, alterations were made to the castle, meaning the lights needed repositioning.
A new lighthouse was established, the Low Lighthouse, replacing the old lighthouse in 1866. The new Low Lighthouse had a red lantern and was built on the castle wall. An exterior staircase outside the fort accessed it.
The offshore Shingles Bank continued to shift and was no longer in the correct position. As a result, a new Low lighthouse was built and established on 30th November 1911, replacing the old Low Light. The new Low Lighthouse was a square metal tower on a steel framework, painted red. It was designed to be moveable along the castle walls as the channel changed. The 52ft red tower was later painted grey in 1977 when discontinued.
Hurst Point High Lighthouse was automated in 1923. The building adjacent to the tower was used for the production of acetylene. The building is still intact with the original equipment that produced Acetylene gas for the lighting. The former lighthouse keeper’s cottage is close by and is now derelict.
The station was modernised in July 1977, and high-intensity direction projectors were installed in the tower. These mark the Needles channel and Shingles Bank and operate 24 hours a day.
The old Low Light was owned by Trinity House until 2020. But on 10th June, ownership was transferred to English Heritage, who are also responsible for the castle.
Hurst Point Lighthouse appeared in the TV production of Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five Five Go to Demon’s Rocks.
Hurst Point Lighthouse is not open to the public, but the old grey Low Lighthouse is located within the grounds of Hurst Castle and is sometimes open to the public.
Also within the grounds of Hurst Castle is the ALK Lighthouse Museum.
Hurst Castle is accessible via ferry from Keyhaven.