December 04, 2018
There are not many places in St Ives where you CAN'T see Godrevy Lighthouse. It sits there at the edge of the bay, marking Stones Reef. For me it is one of the most iconic and mesmerising views in all St Ives. I love it when the sun goes down and the light starts flashing. It makes me think of the shipping forecast!
Depending on the weather, Godrevy Lighthouse sometimes looks really close, and other times so far away. It's just a trick of the light but maybe because I stare at it so much I notice it lots. Today it is raining and foggy and I can't see it at all!
Godrevy Lighthouse was built in the late 1850s. Lots of ships had floundered off the very dangerous Stones Reef including the SS Nile in 1854. This spurred on the building of the lighthouse.
It must have been an amazing thing to see the lighthouse being built. It is a 86 ft high octagonal tower made from rubble and mortar. It sits almost dead centre in Godrevy Island.
Originally, the lighthouse was manned by two men who lived in the little cottage on the island. They worked two months on, one month off which must have been a lonely life! However, in 1939 the light was automated and the keepers were no longer needed.
In 2012, Trinity House turned off the light in the tower and replaced it with an LED light on a steel platform built into the rocks.
The light flashes white/red ever ten seconds with the red only visible if you are in the dangerous part of Stones Reef. The light range is 8 nautical miles.
Godrevy Lighthouse is said to have inspired Virginia Woolf to write her novel To The Lighthouse, after she spent many Summers in St Ives.
The best place to view Godrevy Lighthouse up close is at Godrevy Head (National Trust). Drive along the coast road out of Hayle towards Portreath. You will see the turning for the National Trust car park. There are 2 car parks, the lower one is good for getting onto Gwithian Beach. The field one, which is closed when it gets too wet, is up close to the lighthouse. You can walk round Godrevy Head, spot seals in Mutton Cove and surf, swim and sunbathe on Godrevy Beach.
Alternatively, you can get a boat trip from St Ives that takes you round it during the good weather months.
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