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17th April 2014
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Black Nore Lighthouse

Historical Significance

The Severn Estuary off Black Nore Point has the second highest tide fall in the world. At times 50 feet between low and high tides, and when considered with the jagged rock formations of the point, Black Nore is a treacherous challenge to shipping.

Its position jutes out into the narrow channel, named "the Kings Road", which is the only passage connecting the port of Bristol with the open sea. For 116 years, through World Wars and countless storms, Black Nore Lighthouse has been marking the way for this critical sea passage.

In 1838 the SS Great Western ran aground off Nore Point, highlighting the need for a lighthouse.

In 1906 a steamer was grounded on the rocks at Black Nore, in thick fog, and was completely suspended by its bow and stern at high tide. It was only able to float away on the returning tide due to its strong construction.

The Ashford family who lived at Black Nore Farm just down the footpath from the Lighthouse maintained it. From the time it was built in 1894, the Ashfords rewound its drive mechanisms daily. For the next 85 years, three generations of the Ashford family continued to operate the Lighthouse.

During World War II the Lighthouse had to be converted to electric operation so that it could immediately be turned off in case of enemy attack. The winding mechanisms were kept intact, but were changed from hand winding to be rewound by electric motors. The need for a gas supply was eliminated. Later in 2000 the winding and drive mechanisms were completely replaced by an electric motor.
From information supplied by local historian, Ken Crowhurst.


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