Cornwall Living 2016

Coastal Icons

Standing strong against all that nature has to throw at them, yet strangely romantic and evocative… for many of us lighthouses have it all!

Cornwall has the greatest concentration of lighthouses to be found anywhere; not just simple beacons and harbour lights, but ones that are celebrated worldwide as magnificent examples of the lighthouse builders’ skills. Walk along the coast path and catch sight of a lighthouse perched out at sea or on some rocky headland and you can’t help but be amazed at how on earth anyone ever managed to build it there.

Looking from the land, the coast of Cornwall is dotted with magnificent beaches, beautiful bays and spectacular headlands; somewhere to explore, enjoy the sun and maybe picnic on a warm day. But from the sea, it’s a very different story. In the days of sail the weary mariner would see inhospitable beaches with vicious surf, bays waiting to trap him in an on-shore wind, and forbidding cliffs offering no hope of rescue if he was driven under them. And… just under the sea, plenty of rocks and small islands ready to tear the bottom off his boat if he ventured too close. There have been nearly 1000 known wrecks around Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly plus countless unknown ones. With just a few rudimentary lighthouses and beacons about, it was the Victorians who really perfected the lighthouse builders’ art, especially around the Cornish coast.

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