Orfordness Lighthouse

Threatened by coastal erosion, this iconic building is at imminent risk of falling into the sea.

Now in the hands of the Orfordness Lighthouse Trust, we are committed to keeping this much loved monument standing for as long as possible and to preserve its legacy after that.

While possible, we offer guided tours of this amazing place - you can either visit on one of the Open Days (listed below) or arrange a private visit with us for a pre - agreed donation.

You can read more about how our Open Day Visits run on our Visits Page

 

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Lighthouse News

The Bungalow has been seriously damaged by High Tides and strong winds


Following extremely High Tides and strong winds over the weekend of the 28th/29th September, the Bungalow just below the Lighthouse has been seriously undermined and much of it has collapsed.

It is the current intention of Orfordness Lighthouse Trust to fence off the collapsed building and to demolish it as soon as can be arranged. This is to prevent the building being a danger to curious visitors and can also serve as an extra defence to the Lighthouse structure and the Oil Store.

The bungalow was built in the late 19th Century as outhouses to the cottages that stood either side of the Lighthouse. The Lighthouse was automated and the cottages were demolished in the 1960s and thereafter the Bungalow served as a bunk house for visiting engineers.

The Bungalow has been undermined in the past and the Orfordness Lighthouse Trust has carried out remedial work to shore up the shingle underneath it. Now with almost no beach in front of the Lighthouse this was no longer feasible.

The structure of the Lighthouse itself is still sturdy. Internal examinations of brickwork in the cellar (including a diamond drill through the 2m thick foundations) have proved that the bricks that make up its strcuture have not been infiltrated by damp and nor does the building show any cracks that would suggest the Lighthouse has been undermined. The temporary defences (The Geo-Textile "sausages") put down year after year by Orfordness Lighthouse Trust have worked well. The overall level of the beach is far lower and high-water mark far beyond the promontory the Lighthouse sits on.

What Next?

For several reasons, including the nature of the fabric of the Lighthouse itself, the protected land it stands on and the nature of the erosion, we have long known that preserving Orfordness Lighthouse where she stands was only a short term aim.

Because of the very mobile nature of the shingle we have always caveated that a bad storm with winds in a certain direction could threaten the structure. Every winter since 2013 this has been possible. We have in fact been quite lucky that big storms, like the Beast from the East, have actually deposited shingle on the beach. We don't know how long we'll continue to be so lucky! The collapse of the Bungalow is a timely reminder that the sea and weather can undermine our assumptions and expectations just as quickly as they have the Bungalow.

We have no intention of letting her “fall into the sea” and never have. It has always been the stated aim of Orfordness Lighthouse Trust to keep the building standing and open to visitors for as long as possible, then to preserve the artefacts after that. We communicated recently that the lack of beach in front of the Lighthouse means that we can add no more temporary defences and therefore that dismantling the Lighthouse would have to happen sooner rather than later.

We are very proud to have taken hundreds (if not thousands!) of visitors to Orfordness Lighthouse over the past 6 years and have been supported by kind donations by our visitors and supporters near and far.

We shall keep you up to date with our progress and plans over the coming months, as well as how the Lighthouse is doing over the winter.

Our last visit of 2019 is already fully booked but if you’d like to stay in touch with us please email us at orfordnesslighthouse@gmail.com and we can add you to our mailing list.

 

How is the Lighthouse 2019?

 

A question we Trustees of Orfordness Lighthouse are asked so frequently!

The winter of 2018/2019 has thankfully not been quite as severe as last Winter, but it still had its moments. The beach in front of the lighthouse has retreated so much over the year that every high tide is in contact with the defences, and so has an effect. This effect is sometimes positive, bringing a bit more shingle up on the tide. But more often it is negative, taking shingle away and further undermining the Victorian water tanks and the bungalow cottage. The beach is now so narrow and steep in front of the lighthouse that we have not been able to add to the defences this year. There simply is not enough shingle to fill the rubble sacks, and no stable platform on which to place the "sausage rolls".
So it is the beginning of the end. This year while having the lighthouse open to visitors we will be planning its the dismantlement and the saving of the artifacts. Sad yes, but through generous donations and hard work by volunteers we have kept her open to 100s of visitors when it was predicted it would be in a ruinous state by 2015/16 when decommissioned in 2013.

Orfordness Lighthouse Trust remains committed to keeping the Lighthouse standing where it is for as long as possible, and remaining alive to the constant threat of the sea. It remains our intention to dismantle the Lighthouse and rebuild a replica elsewhere on the Ness. If you want to hear more about this plan, we'd recommend coming on one of our Open Days and we'll be glad to tell you more about it.

How Do We Book to Visit?

To book your places on any of the visits please email us at orfordnesslighthouse@gmail.com with the number in your party and your preferred date. If you could include your name in the subject line, that would be very helpful, thank you. You can find a link to our email address at the bottom of this message.

Full details on how the visits run are listed on the Visits Page of our website here. We will also send a house keeping email the day before the visit with last-minute house keeping (which will mainly be about the weather!)

2019 VISIT DATES:
14th April
5th May
2nd June
21st July
25th August
22nd September

*There may be a further visit in October, TBC subject to demand and volunteer availability*

Find the link to email us below... we look forward to welcoming you!

orfordnesslighthouse@gmail.com

How is the Lighthouse? March 2018

A question we Trustees of Orfordness Lighthouse are asked so frequently!

The winter of 2017/2018 has been quite fierce with frequent Easterly winds combined with high tides. The very cold weather and strong winds in late February/early March took a fair bite at the defences but they did their job and the structure of the Lighthouse stands strong. Sadly one of the exposed Victorian water tanks has now collapsed and the 1960's bungalow has been further undermined, but our main concern is the building itself and she is just fine and looking forward to welcoming visitors in 2018 shortly after Easter.

The effectiveness of the defences is very clear - the Lighthouse itself now stands on its own little peninsula, with the high water mark of the rest of the beach now behind the Lighthouse. Had we not placed the defences, it is certain that the Lighthouse would have already been undermined.

Orfordness Lighthouse Trust remains committed to keeping the Lighthouse standing where it is for as long as possible, and remaining alive to the constant threat of the sea. When the time comes, barring a very significant change of circumstances, we intend to dismantle the Lighthouse and rebuild a replica elsewhere on the Ness.

If you want to hear more about this plan, we'd recommend coming on one of our Summer Open Days and we'll be glad to tell you more about it.

Lighthouse 3

An application to install defences for the lighthouse was considered and approved by Suffolk Coastal District Council. Public support was vital to convince the council to approve the plan.

Lighthouse