Find out about the town's historic lighthouses
in Somerset has had three lighthouses over the years - of very
different shapes - which have played a vital role in keeping sea-going
The lighthouse on legs
After the Pillar Lighthouse building was completed it was found
that too low a vantage point had been selected to take into account
the massive rise and fall of the tides, so a lighthouse on legs
was built in 1832 to complement the tower.
The Low Lighthouse lights were inactive between 1969 and 1993
and were re-established on 31 December 1993.
High Lighthouse lights were permanently discontinued at the same
The lighthouse has a focal plane of 7m and provides a white flash
every 7.5s plus a directional light (white, red, or green depending
on direction) at a focal plane of 4m. The light is shown through
a window at the front.
The lighthouse is painted white with a single vertical red stripe
on its front face and is 9m tall with a conical roof and mounted
on 9 timber pilings.
It remains an active aid to navigation and is visited by many
thousands of walkers every year.
Old Lighthouse - 'Round Tower'
since 1832, this 2-story masonry tower with castellated top is
located on The Esplanade in Burnham-On-Sea.
Originally 4 stories tall, the tower was reduced in height after
being replaced as a lighthouse, so that it would not be confused
with the Burnham High Lighthouse (see below).
Built privately by the local curate,
this lighthouse has always been known locally as the Round Tower.
old lighthouse has a curious history. In around 1750 an old fisherman
and his wife lived in a cottage close to the church. One stormy
night, anxious about her husband not returning home after dark,
the wife put a candle in the window of the cottage to help him
find his way home. It saved his life and the grateful sailors
decided to pay her small sums of money from that time on to keep
a candle burning in order to safely guide them on their homeward
Later, the sexton of the church gave the fisherman's wife five
pounds for the rights to place a light on the church tower - it
being higher and therefore more effective. He, in turn, was given
twenty pounds by the Reverend David Davies, Curate of Burnham,
who built the structure now known as the Round Tower.
Lighthouse - 'High Lighthouse'
pillar lighthouse had a paraffin-fired light and is a hundred
feet in height.
It quickly became a tourist attraction with many visitors climbing
the spiral staircase to view the coasts of South Wales and North
is now a private house on the Berrow Road and has been inactive
30m (99ft) tall, it is a brick tower with a conical roof and a
half gallery on the front which incorporated the keeper's quarters.
is located on Berrow Road, about 500m east of the low lighthouse,
and now provides holiday accommodation to tourists all year round.
is pictured here receiving its annual maintainance.
more photos of Burnham On Sea lighthouses in our gallery.