St Tudwal’s Lighthouse is located on St Tudwal’s Island West and marks the northern end of Cardigan Bay. Two small islands make up St Tudwal’s Islands. St Tudwal’s West is 650 metres long and 167 metres at its widest point. St Tudwal’s East is close by.
The islands are located in Tremadoc Bay on the Lleyn Peninsula’s southern side and play host to a variety of birds including guillemots, choughs and razorbills as well as grey seals.
The island is said to be named after St Tudwal, a saint who lived on the island in the sixth century.
St Tudwal’s Lighthouse was built to aid vessels carrying slate from the North Wales quarries. Bardsey Island to the west could be obscured from view when passing the western side of Tremadoc Bay.
Trinity House purchased the site in 1876. The short 36 feet high tower and single-storey cottages were built under the design of James Nicholas Douglass.
The lighthouse was the first to have an occulting optic apparatus, made by Chance Brothers of Smethwick. Its light was converted to acetylene gas in 1922 using a sun valve, which controlled the gas between daylight and night. The lighthouse was subsequently automated.
The lighthouse was electrified in 1995 and converted to solar power.
In 2020 further modernisation took place. A new handrail was installed to replace the original one. THV Galatea assisted with the transportation of materials, and deliveries were made by helicopter. A new LED light was installed inside the existing optic, and the red filters were replaced.
Following the automation of the lighthouse, in 1935 the keepers’ cottages were sold privately. Currently, the island and lighthouse keepers’ cottages are owned by TV adventurer Bear Grylls.
Television writer Carla Lane owned St Tudwal’s East Island until she died in 2016.