Threatened by coastal erosion, this iconic building is at imminent risk of falling into the sea. Now in the hands of the Orfordness Lighthouse Trust, we are committed to keeping this much loved monument standing for as long as possible and to preserve its legacy after that.
We had a great Summer at Orfordness Lighthouse, taking around 550 people across to the Ness to see our much loved Lighthouse. Generally our visits were blessed with good weather which meant that everyone was able to enjoy a clement walk over and spectacular views from the top. The June visitors did get a soaking however. As ever, we are thrilled to have been able to share this wonderful structure and place with so many people.
It is now very visible that the line of Orfordness Beach is now behind the Lighthouse and the structure now sits on its own promontory. Had we not put down the shingle-bag defences, the Lighthouse would be in a very precarious state.
We were always aware that the shingle filled sausages were not going to be sufficient to save the Lighthouse. While they have been invaluable to maintain the it, they do nothing to break the energy of the waves, so they were never a long term solution.
Further, eventually the sea will wear away the shingle around the Lighthouse and will undercut from underneath. The foundations of the structure are around 6 metres deep. The Sea-bed is coming in at around 10 metres deep and this is what will eventually undermine the building.
After considerable research into the options we have to accept that it is exceptionally unlikely for us to maintain the safety of Orfordness Lighthouse where it is beyond 2016.
If we have a kind winter and access remains safe, we will open to visitors again in 2017. However, we have to be prepared that this might not be possible.
We are looking into options to extract and preserve the artifacts and see how we can raise the money required to partially rebuild it in another position on the Ness or elsewhere. We have some exciting plans but they are still in formulation so we'll keep you updated.