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You are here: Skip Navigation LinksHome > Articles > From the magazines > 2000 > The Beaulieu River Beacon

Millennium Light - The Beaulieu River Beacon

From the 'Leading Lights' Journal

The text of the following article recently appeared in volume three number 3 of ‘Leading Lights’, the International Lighthouse Journal that my wife, Brenda, receives on subscription. Knowing the wide interest there would be amongst the many SSA members who sail in the Solent area, I contacted Peter Williams the publisher, who gave me permission to reconstruct the text of the article and generously loaned me the photographs shown.

The original article was produced by Peter Williams and photographs were taken by Joy Adcock.

Millennium Lighthouse - The Beaulieu River Beacon

Beaulieu River in the heart of England’s South Coast yachting area is has been known to seafarers since wooden ships were built there in the 18th Century. The wooden walls of Nelsons Navy slid down the Bucklers Hard slipways to defend the British Empire. The yard has been in the ownership of the Montagu family since 1724. It is now a prime area for yachtsmen with a 110-berth yacht harbour. The present approach to the river from the Solent has to be navigated by way of a relatively narrow channel between Beaulieu Spit and the Lepe Foreshore. The channel is marked by dolphin piles but is a difficult channel for navigation especially in strong cross tides and at night. A committee was formed with the aim of improving the navigation into the river, and at the same time celebrate the millennium with a permanent structure. The committee included the harbour master, John Edward, and some of the experienced sailors based in the river.

The committee researched a number of ideas including leading lights and also held a design competition. The winning design was a sculpture incorporating a tide ball to replace one of the dolphin piles. This design proved to be prohibitively costly and was abandoned. A decision was made to build a traditionally designed lighthouse as the most appropriate way to improve navigation. Trinity House were involved in the early planning stages of the final design for a 25ft (7.60m) land beacon and its light. It would act as a daymark whilst at night a sectored light would help yachtsmen to navigate the channel with greater safety. The traditional design was chosen to be in keeping with the quality of the area and as a local feature visible not only from the sea but from along the coast and visitor area of Lepe Beach.

The most suitable site giving clear visibility from seaward and an uninterrupted light beam was in the garden of Lepe House, owned by the Hon. Mr. Pease who readily gave his permission and donated the area for the lighthouse to be erected. A local architect, Brian Turner was given the brief to design the lighthouse with a sectored light mounted in a lamp room. The building work was undertaken by a local contractor Mark Keeping and the light a Tideland ML300 lantern was supplied by FPM Henderson Ltd of Glasgow. The money to build the lighthouse was provided by the generosity of the friends of the Beaulieu River and the Royal Cruising Club Pilotage Foundation

The opening ceremony on Saturday July 8th was performed by the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Mrs Mary Fagan, in the presence of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, Ted Fort OBE (Chairman of the Beacon Committee), John Edward (Harbourmaster) local residents, river users and members of the Association of Lighthouse Keepers.

For the technically minded

  • Formal name: Beaulieu River Millennium Beacon
  • Position: 50 47.08N 01 21.81W
  • The Tower: A circular white painted rendered masonry tower with traditional tapered design to the underside of the lantern. The glazed lamp room set on the gallery is octagonal with single sheet glass panes. The dome is GRP and is fitted with a weather vane.
  • The Light: The light is a Tideland ML 300 TF3b Unit and is sectored to provide a white "safe" beam of 7 degrees. Each side is a sector of either red or green to show the approaching craft if they are veering off to port or starboard of the safe channel. The complete arc is 26 degrees. The unit measures 800mm high and is powered by a twelve-volt battery recharged from the mains supply.
  • Characteristic: Occ WRG 4s 13m 4/3M
  • Sectors: Green 321o - 331o White 331o - 337o Red 337o - 347o
  • The light was established 8th July 2000 and replaced an existing unlit rear transit mark.

Leading Lights details

Leading Lights
The International Lighthouse Journal
Milford Marina
Milford Haven
SA73 3AF

Telephone +44 (0)1646 698825

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