In the 1850s as the West Somerset Mineral Railway was nearing completion, parts of Watchet harbour had fallen into disrepair such that boats needed to be breached and loaded direct from carts brought onto the foreshore.
Serious improvements were necessary to ensure the continued export of iron ore from ironstone mines in the Brendon Hills to Newport and thence to Ebbw Vale for smelting. The Watchet Harbour Act was passed in 1857, placing it under the control of Commissioners and with it a new east pier and a rebuilt the west pierwere undertaken.
Tenders for the new lighthouse at the end of the harbour wall were placed in 1860. Three bids were received. The design by Isambard Kingdom Brunel was rejected in favour of one by James Abernethy. This was built by Hennet, Spinks and Else of Bridgwater for £75. The cast iron structure was topped with an oil lamp.
The lighthouse is a harbour navigation mark and does not emit a flashing light associated with traditional lighthouses. Instead it displays a fixed green luminaire marking the starboard (right hand side) approach to the marina.
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