One of our final stops in Cornwall before we moved to Hampshire for the second week of our trip, was to the most Southerly place you can get to in Britain, Lizard Point…
Status: Cornwall Unitary Authority & County, Village, England
Eating & Sleeping: N/A
Attractions: Lizard Point, Lizard Point Lighthouse, English Channel, Helston Bus Service etc
We had arrived in the village of Lizard, whose main landmark is the Lizard Point Lighthouse a short walk from the village centre.
Part of the site is now a Heritage Centre, with a Museum and Shop included. The Lighthouse sits on the coast overlooking the English Channel, around 884 miles away from it’s counterpart Lighthouse at Dunnet Head in Scotland, the most Northerly Point in Britain.
If you look closely at the picture above, you can see that there are actually TWO Lighthouse towers, rising to 62 ft, one at either end of the building.
The present building was completed in 1751, and includes a row of cottages which connects the two towers. At the time a light shone from either end, however in 1903 the Western Tower (to the right) was deactivated, and the lamp itself was removed. By 1924 the complex had been converted to allow electricity to run the light, the first in the world.
The Eastern Tower still shines today, with a range of 26 Nautical Miles. The Light was later automated in 1998, and the Cottages converted into Self-Catering Holiday Homes which are available to rent.
Inside the Heritage Centre, we came across one particular exhibit which put us in mind of our trip to the Isles of Scilly the day before.
These are the former “Entrance Doors” to Bishop Rock Lighthouse. They each weigh 200 KG, as they were cast out of Solid Bronze. It was in 1994 that a maintenance crew discovered the damage wreaked during a storm, with one of the doors blown further inside the building causing interior damage. The doors were replaced, whilst the originals were brought back to the mainland.
The Lighthouse here at Lizard would also have warned travellers away from the rocky reefs out in the Channel just offshore, a major hazard for shipping.
Back in the village itself, we spotted a plaque on the side of a building which states that:
“The Lizard to Helston Station bus service inaugurated in August 1903 was the first railway-operated motor bus service in the UK”.
The line was built by the GWR (Great Western Railway) as an alternative to an actual railway line from Helston in to Lizard. The buses would meet people arriving at Helston Railway Station, and transport them on to Lizard. It was almost the first overall motor bus service in the UK, however that distinction goes to one launched a few months earlier in Eastbourne. A bus still runs between Lizard and Helston to this day, although its connection to the railways is long gone, as the line at Helston was shut during the 1960’s.
Our third and final stop for the day after Falmouth and Lizard was to Helston, a charming little town 11 miles to the North…