Suffolk

Orfordness lighthouse 'perilously' close to falling into sea

Orfordness lighthouse
Image caption Orfordness lighthouse "perilously" close to falling in the sea, according to a charitable trust

A lighthouse is "perilously close" to falling into the sea after being exposed by coastal erosion, a charity trust has warned.

The Orfordness lighthouse, in Suffolk, is 10m (32ft) from the sea after the gap halved over the past four years.

Nicholas Gold, of the Orfordness Lighthouse Trust, said a £10,000 appeal had been set up for urgent repairs.

Storms forecast for this week pose a "real risk" of causing "significant damage" to the lighthouse, he said.

The trust said strong winds and high tides had eroded the shore around the Grade II-listed building, built in 1792.

"If the work is not carried out in the next few weeks, the lighthouse will, in all likelihood, not be standing in a year's time," said Mr Gold.

"It's perilously close to falling in the sea."

Image copyright Mike Page
Image caption The distance from the lighthouse to the shoreline in 2005 was around 20m (65ft)
Image copyright Mike Page
Image caption By November 2015 the distance from the lighthouse to the sea had halved to just 10m (32ft) after shingle defences were eroded by high tides and winds

The appeal hopes to raise cash to shore up the beach with bags of shingle.

The lighthouse was purchased by Mr Gold in 2013 from Trinity House, the country's general lighthouse authority.

The trust has spent £20,000 bolstering the sea defences over the past two years.

But it said a long-term solution was necessary involving building a steel wall around the around the front of the lighthouse and its outbuildings - at a cost of about £190,000.

The beach around the lighthouse is owned by the trust and is on a nature reserve owned by the National Trust.

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