Digest>Archives> Sep/Oct 2013

369 Year Old Light Station Abandoned to the Elements


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Orfordness Lighthouse, also known as the Orford ...
Photo by: Tony Denton

Trinity House, the organization that manages the lighthouses of England, Wales, and some other British territories has decommissioned the Orfordness Lighthouse and left it abandoned to succumb to the encroaching sea. The light station was established in 1634, an amazing 369 years ago. The current tower is 221 years old, having been built in 1792. Automated in 1964, the lens, which shown from the tower for the last time on June 27, 2013, has now been removed from the tower.

Because of the restrictions of the Orford Ness National Nature Preserve and the delicate eco-system where the lighthouse stands, there are no plans to move the lighthouse to save it. Instead, it will eventually collapse into the sea. Just when that will happen is unknown, but experts state that it could happen at any time or it could take up to seven years.

Interestingly, the Orfordness Low Light that was built in 1886, also in Orford, was deactivated in 1887 and it eventually collapsed into the sea because of erosion.

This story appeared in the Sep/Oct 2013 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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