This week Trinity House announced some changes to the ‘character’ of the light from the Berry Head Lighthouse. This announcement comes via ‘Notices to Mariners’ which our skipper Richard Smith has to stay aware of. They are issued by the navigation authorities and harbourmasters.
Pilgrim and her skipper Silas Pine had been fishing out of Brixham for eleven years when the lighthouse was constructed on Berry Head in 1906. It would have been a welcome navigational aid marking the southerly entrance to Torbay. It has an unusual pedigree being the highest and the lowest lighthouse in England. The lighthouse is only 16 feet tall, yet its light is 190 feet above sea level. It is located in the South Devon ‘area of outstanding natural beauty’ (AONB) in a commanding position on the headland. It is a very welcome sight for Brixham trawlermen to this day.
At night it can be seen over 11 miles away and it flashes a white light twice every 15 seconds. The character of the light is now a one second flash followed by a one second eclipse, then a one second flash and a 12 second eclipse.
Many people will not be aware that Berry Head also hosts an aeronautical navigation aid which is part of a vital north south navigational air corridor managed by NATS – the UK’s National Air Traffic Services. So, Berry Head is not only a fabulous spot for bird watchers but also a special place for boat and aircraft spotters.