|Year first constructed 1862|
Height 6.5 metres (21 ft)
|Construction cast iron tower|
Tower shape tapered hexagonal prism with lantern
Markings / pattern orange tower, white lantern, dark green lantern roof
The Watchet Harbour Lighthouse is a marine navigational aid marking the entrance to a Marina within the town of Watchet, in Somerset, England.
In the 1850s the West Somerset Mineral Railway was nearing completion. Parts of the harbour had fallen into disrepair and boats were beached and loaded direct from carts brought on to the foreshore. It was recognised that improvements were needed for the propserity of the town and the export of minerals from ironstone mines in the Brendon Hills to Newport and thence to Ebbw Vale for smelting to extract the iron. The Watchet Harbour Act was passed in 1857, placing it under the control of Commissioners; they built a new east pier and rebuilt the west pier; the work was finished in 1862, and 500 ton vessels could enter the harbour. The west pier on which the lighthouse stands was constructed at the same time as the current east pier in 1860 by Hennets of Bridgwater and re erected in 1905.
Tenders for the new lighthouse on the end of the harbour wall were placed in 1860. Three bids were received. The design by Isambard Kingdom Brunel was rejected in favour of one by James Abernethy. This was built by Hennet, Spinks and Else of Bridgwater for £75. The cast iron structure was topped with an oil lamp.
In September 2012, Princess Anne unveiled a plaque to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the lighthouse.
Structure and operation
The cast iron lighthouse is approximately 22 feet (6.7 m) in height and has a red hexagonal tower with white lantern, and green lens.
The lighthouse is a harbour navigation mark and does not emit a flashing light associated with traditional lighthouses. Instead it displays a fixed green luminaire marking the starboard (right hand side) approach to the marina.