Watchet Harbour Lighthouse

Watchet Harbour Lighthouse is located at the end of the west pier and marks the entrance to Watchet Harbour Marina.

By the middle of the sixteenth century, Watchet Harbour had a pier, but this was destroyed during a storm in 1659.  A new, sturdier pier was later built.  At this time wool and kelp was being exported.

By the 1850s boats were being beached and loaded from carts at the foreshore. However, improvements were needed with the export of iron ore from mines in the Brendon Hills to South Wales.  The West Somerset Mineral Railway was almost complete. Better loading facilities were needed for the terminus.

Railway lines on pier
The former railway lines visible on the West Pier
Photo © N Chadwick (cc-by-sa/2.0)

In 1857 the Harbour Commissioners took control following the passing of the Watchet Harbour Act.  A new east pier was built, and the existing west pier was rebuilt in 1860.   These new piers allowed larger vessels to enter the harbour. 

Watchet Lighthouse was built in 1862 following the completion of the west breakwater. The hexagonal red painted cast iron tower is 22ft high and originally displayed a fixed green light.

The harbour suffered further damage in 1900.  The lighthouse was removed and re-erected on the new breakwater in 1905. The new lighting system was produced by Chance Brothers and it exhibited an occulting green light.

On the east breakwater, a 9ft high pole displays two vertical red lights.  This light was established around 1900.

In September 2012, The Princess Royal commemorated the lighthouse’s 150th anniversary by unveiling a plaque. 

Both east and west piers are accessible by foot.

Established: 1862
Tower Height: 5 metres
Light Character: Oc G 3 s
Light Range: 9 miles
Elevation: 9 metres