Discover the lighthouses of North West England. This area includes the lights of Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside and Cheshire.
Please note that some of these lighthouses offer holiday accommodation or may be privately owned.
Please take care not to trespass or drive on private property.
Lighthouses of North West England
The Solway Firth separates the Scottish and English border between Dumfries and Galloway and Cumbria. It starts from the Mull of Galloway and ends around St Bees Head.
A harbour was established at the tiny village of Port Carlisle in 1819 for ships to sail to Carlisle by canal, around six miles away. By the 1860s, however, the harbour had silted up as the currents changed. Today there are few remains of the harbour, canal and railway.
Grune Point is a large spit and nature reserve. From here, it is possible to walk to Silloth, just to the south.
Silloth was established as a harbour in the 1850s and became a popular seaside resort with the arrival of the railway in 1856. Silloth East Cote Lighthouse is a prominent landmark along the seafront.
Maryport Harbour was developed in the 18th century for the local coal trade. Maryport has two lighthouses; the Old Lighthouse was restored in 2017. A maritime museum is also located in the harbour.
By 1730 Whitehaven was serving as a major British port. There are several lighthouses in Whitehaven harbour. In addition, the old watchtower was not used as a lighthouse, but the staff kept a watch from here and signalled to vessels entering the port.
South of Whitehaven, the headland of St Bees marks the start of the Coast to Coast trail from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay on the opposite coast. Originally a coal-fired beacon established in 1718, St Bees Lighthouse was the last of the coal-fired lights in Britain, and the current lighthouse replaced it in 1822.
Haverigg Point marks the northern entrance to the Duddon Sands. A short walk along the lake takes are the two lighthouses, one now disused, at Hodbarrow Point. The lighthouses were built to assist with the mining trade near Haverigg and Millom.
Isle of Walney Lighthouse, near Barrow in Furness, was the last lighthouse in England to be automated, as Trinity House does not operate it. One of the few female Principal Keepers, Peggy Braithewaite, grew up on the island. She looked after the lighthouse for many years until her retirement, maintaining a tradition that ran in her family.
In nearby Morecambe Bay, Rampside Lighthouse was built around 1850 to 1870 and is known locally as the Needle.
Heading a few miles inland to Ulverston, on Hoad Hill is the lighthouse monument dedicated to Sir John Barrow, born in Ulverston. It is worth the climb, and the tower is sometimes open.
The holiday resort of Morecambe overlooks the vast sands of Morecambe Bay. On Morecambe Stone Pier is the lighthouse and adjacent cafe.
The busy ferry town of Heysham has a lighthouse on the South Pier, and nearby is the old Near Naze Rear Lighthouse.
At Glasson Dock, the sea meets the Lancaster Canal, and its little lighthouse is hidden within the docks.
Cockersand marks the entrance to the River Lune and its estuary. There is a coastal walk to Glasson, and from here, you can see Plover Scar Lighthouse. Also, if you know where to look, you may find the former Cockersand Lighthouse Cottage.
The seaside town of Fleetwood, close to Blackpool, boasts two prominent lighthouses on its seafront. The High and Low lights guided ships into the Wyre estuary, and Wyre Lighthouse, now in disrepair, is visible just offshore.
The town of Formby marks the entrance to the Mersey. Lighthouses and lightvessels marked the estuary, but buoys have now replaced the lightvessels. All that remains at Crosby now are the statues by Antony Gormley.
The Mersey Docks and Harbour Board once managed the lighthouses of Merseyside and the coast of North Wales. The Board later became the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company, now the Port of Liverpool.
Located close to the Port building, the impressive Merseyside Maritime Museum tells of the importance of Liverpool as a port. It also houses the former optic of Hale Head Lighthouse, which can be found further up the Mersey towards Runcorn.
Cheshire and Wirral
At Ellesmere Port, the Ellesmere Canal reached the Mersey, becoming the hub for the Shropshire Union Canal system. Ellesmere Port Lighthouse was located at Whitby Locks. It was built to guide ships into the Manchester Ship Canal and Shropshire Union Railway and Canal dock from the River Mersey. The restored lighthouse now forms part of the National Waterways Museum.
At Birkenhead, the Mersey Ferry Terminal at Woodside was built in 1863, and the lighthouse retains a lantern from a previous tower.
New Brighton is a popular seaside resort, easily reached from Liverpool. New Brighton Lighthouse was established in 1683 and replaced with a granite tower in 1830. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1973 and restored in 2001, and it remains a prominent landmark on the beach at low tide.
Bidston Lighthouse was once an important signal station, and the lighthouse formed part of a chain of signals linking Anglesey to Liverpool. Now two miles inland, the lighthouse is located next to the observatory. Nearby, Leasowe Lighthouse was part of a pair of leading lights, although only one disused tower remains. Leasowe is unusual in design, and the lighthouse is sometimes open to the public.
Two lighthouses were established at Hoylake in 1764. When aligned, the high and low lighthouses guided ships into a sheltered area when passage into Liverpool was difficult. Hoylake High Lighthouse remains in the middle of a street and is now a private residence. Nearby at West Kirby, the Grange Mariners Beacon is located at the top of Caldy Hill and looks across the Dee estuary.
If you can, take the time to walk out to Hillbre Island across the sands. Although a modern lighthouse, you can find one of the former telegraph signal stations here. You must check the tides though, as access is only available at low water, so make sure you leave enough time to get back!
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