Features

  • Open to the public
  • Holiday cottages

Nash Point

51° 24'.050 N 003° 33'.131 W (not for navigation purposes)


Image of Nash Point

Nash Point Lighthouse

History

Trinity House instructed Joseph Nelson to construct two towers, 300 metres apart, at Nash Point on the Heritage Coastline of the Vale of Glamorgan. The transit of the towers and their lights would lead vessels clear of the Nash Sands, which extend some 7 miles west of the headland. The sands are a major hazard to shipping which had contributed to the loss of many vessels and lives.

A passenger vessel, the Frolic, foundered on the sands in March 1831 with the loss of around 78 lives and this gave extra impetus to have the station completed as soon as was possible. In fact the foundations for both towers were laid by 1 October 1831 and the station was completed and exhibited its lights on 1 September 1832, just 11 months later, an incredible engineering achievement. The lighthouse has shone its light every night since, successfully assisting mariners in their safe passages with very few maritime incidences occurring in the intervening time.

Initially both the 37 metre tall High (east) tower and the 25 metre tall Low (west) tower both shone lights but during the 1920s it was decided that the light of the low tower was not required as its function could be taken over by the use of red sectors being exhibited by the light of the High tower. The Low tower lantern and lens were eventually removed in the 1950s.

Originally the light source was provided by Argand burners, which were later replaced by paraffin “Hood” burners and then by 1,500 watt electrical lamps in the 1960s when mains electricity was brought to the station. These lamps have now been replaced with 150 watt electrical lamps within a smaller lens which still gives a light visible for excess of 20 miles.

The diesel-engined, compressed air-powered, siren-type fog signal was installed in 1906 and the original Ruston engines were in service for 60 years, being replaced by Gardner engines in 1966. The Gardner engines and fog signal apparatus have been restored in recent years and is sounded, for the benefit of visitors, twice a month, though it is no longer an active Aid to Navigation.

When the station was first constructed there was only one dwelling at each of the towers but by about 1900, two additional cottages were built and the original dwellings were extended rearwards to match the new dwellings. Three of the cottages were for keepers and their families who worked at Nash Point while the fourth was for the family of a keeper who would be based at an offshore light.

As with all lighthouses in the British Isles, Nash Point is no longer manned, the last keepers leaving on 5 August 1998. In fact, it was the last light in Wales to be automated and the second last in the UK to be de-manned.

Visitors to the station will notice a large aerial to the east of the High tower. This is one of the Differential Global Positioning System’s (DGPS) land-based transmitters which augments the standard GPS system and gives greater accuracy and reliability to vessels which are equipped with DGPS receivers.

In 1977 a rare plant, the Tuberous Thistle (Cirsium tuberosum) was discovered growing within the station and the grounds were subsequently declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). This also accounts for the way the grass is left mainly uncut during the spring and summer, with only pathways being mown in that time.

Since 2007 the station has been one of only ten Trinity House lighthouses which are open to the public as visitor centres.

 

Send us a photograph of Nash Point Lighthouse.

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