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Eddystone Lighthouse

Devon, England

Eddystone Lighthouse

The Eddystone Lighthouse is located on the dangerous Eddystone rocks, 9 miles south of Rame Head and represents a feat of engineering in terms of design and construction.

EddystoneThe current lighthouse was built in May 1882. It was founded on the actual body of the reef and was completed in three and a half years. It was designed and built by James Douglass, Engineer-in-Chief of Trinity House and stands at 40 metres high.

In 1982 it became fully automatic, bringing an end to 284 years of Keepers of the Eddystone Light. In August 1999, the electric light in the lantern began to be generated by solar panels. Today, the beam can be seen up to 17 miles away.

This is the fourth famous lighthouse to have been built to mark the dangerous Eddystone Reef. The predecessor to this lighthouse is Smeaton’s Tower, which is now a tourist attraction on Plymouth’s Hoe. Most of the reef is submerged with only three feet of rock visible at high tide.


Text courtesy of Jo Clarke, Plymouth City Council

100 Great Geosites

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Images (top to bottom):

  • Eddystone Lighthouse © Pline (Source Wikimedia Commons) Public Domain
  • Painting by Isaac Sailmacker (1633-1721) of the 2nd Lighthouse(Source Wikimedia Commons) Public Domain
  • The four successive Lighthouses, left to right:
    Winstanley's lighthouse (Built 1698, destroyed in the Great Storm of 1703) (Source Wikimedia Commons) Public Domain
    Rudyard's lighthouse (Built 1709, burnt down 1755) (Source Wikimedia Commons) Public Domain
    Smeaton's lighthouse (Built 1759, dismantled in 1877) (Source Wikimedia Commons) Public Domain
    Douglass's lighthouse (1882-present) (Source Wikimedia Commons) Public Domain
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