The Unique Nine-Legged Lighthouse at Burnham on Sea
Nine wooden legs
The waters of the River Parrett meet the Bristol Channel at Burnham on Sea. Notoriously dangerous, with a huge range of 40ft, the tide in the area is the second highest in the world. The builders of the nine-legged Low Lighthouse also had to contend with shifting sands and mud-flats that would soon destroy the foundations of a conventional stone building. Wooden stilts were an ingenious solution that make the lighthouse unique in the UK.
The Victorians built the Low Lighthouse in 1832, a time of enormous interest in technology and travel, to replace the Round Tower. This was a tall building originally situated next to the Church, funded by the local curate on condition the Burnham fishermen and residents paid for its upkeep.
The Low Lighthouse fell out of use in the 20th century but was recommissioned in 1983 and now flashes every 7.5 seconds.
The Victorians built another lighthouse, the Tower or High Lighthouse, at the same time, and the two buildings worked together to lead navigators through the River Parrett. The Tower is now a private house.
The Grade 11 listed Low Lighthouse is a wooden square, constructed on strong oak legs, with a single, dramatic, vertical red stripe. Set at a height of 36ft, the light reaches 23ft above the high spring tides and shines out over 9 miles.
Murder at the Lighthouse
The Low Lighthouse stars in the first Exham on Sea Mystery. Libby Forest finds a body on the beach under the lighthouse and discovers her unexpected gift for investigation, helped by Bear, the gigantic Carpathian Sheepdog and Fuzzy, her aloof marmalade cat.
Read more about the Exham on Sea Mysteries…