The Visitor Centre is currently closed and has to close whenever a Wedding Ceremony is being held at the Lighthouse or when closure is required for the operational requirements of Trinity House.
On arrival at Nash Point Headland please park at the Car Park, where the Cliff Top Café is situated and walk along to the station grounds, through the entrance gate and along to the east tower (the tall one). The four ex-keepers’ cottages are either residential or holiday lets therefore please ensure to respect the privacy and peace of those residents.
The Lighthouse is an historic building which was completed in 1832 a long time before any Building Regulations were in force. Therefore, in order to make the tower available for visitors some other regulations have had to be set in place for the safety of all visitors. The main restrictions are that all visitors who wish to ascend the tower must be at least 1.1metres tall and capable of ascending and descending unaided. Appropriate footwear must be worn and this excludes bare feet and open-backed sandals, flip-flops etc, and anyone with a heart condition is not advised to attempt ascending the tower. Other restrictions are available from the Tour Guide(s) at the entrance to the Tower.
You may either have a Guided Tour which will take about an hour or take a Guide Booklet which explains why and how the Lighthouse was built, has some history details of the 500 years of Trinity House and also explains what is on each floor of the tower. In general, families with younger children find the “self” tour the better option.
Once you have ascended all the steps to the Lantern, (count them as you go and we will tell you if you are correct), subject to weather you may have a spectacular view of the mid-section of the Bristol Channel which has the 2nd (or 3rd, 2 places in Canada have the joint 1st place) highest tide in the world.
On the English side of the channel you may just see parts of Weston-Super-Mare behind the island of Steepholm, Bridgewater Bay including Brent Knoll, Hinkley Point with its Nuclear Power Station, Watchet and Blue Anchor Bay, Minehead including Butlins Holiday Centre, Porlock Weir, Lynmouth Foreland Lighthouse, Lynmouth & Lynton, Ilfracombe and finally the north west tip of Devon at Bull Point, where there is also a Lighthouse.
On the Welsh side you will see Aberthaw point with its coal-fired Power Station (you may be able to see a domed concrete structure about ½ mile of that point. This is the cold water intake used for cooling the Power Station and is clearly a potential Hazard to Shipping, hence it is marked by the east facing red sector of the lantern. Between Aberthaw and our Lighthouse is St Donat’s Castle, you may be able to see the top of its towers through the trees. It is one of the “United Colleges of the Atlantic” who take sixth-form students from around the world to study for their International Baccalaureate; many of the students go on to high office in their countries as senior Diplomats, Civil Servants or Politicians.
St Donat’s Castle used to be owned by the American newspaper magnate William Hurst, of “Citizen Kane” fame, who had a Welsh mistress and in the 1920’s & 30’s many celebrity parties were held there with guests such as Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks snr. Even the late President of the U.S.A. John F. Kennedy stayed here and during that time he visited our Lighthouse.
In latter years it has sealed its place in maritime history by being the place where the original RHIBS (rigid hulled inflatable boats) or RIBS (rigid inflatable boats) were designed and built. These are now ubiquitous being used by Life-saving, military, Coastguard, Police, Border Control etc, as well as leisure users, throughout the world.
To the immediate west of the station, just beyond the East Nash Cardinal Buoy, you may be able to see the top of the Nash Sandbank, if the tide is low, and although it breaks surface for only a short distance it is very shallow for about 7 miles making it an extreme Hazard to Shipping and the reason why this Lighthouse was built was to shine a safe passage to the south of the sandbanks. Before the lighthouse was completed vessels were lost with tragic monotony on the sandbanks.
Another major Hazard to Shipping is the Tusker Rock between the Lighthouse and Porthcawl, now marked by a single buoy though ships will be aware of its proximity to the Lighthouse and the Nash Sands and give it a wide berth.
Beyond the Tusker Rock is the seaside town of Porthcawl and beyond that, a bit to the north, you will see the steam and smoke rising from the Steel Works at Port Talbot. Further to the west you can see Swansea Bay, you just might be able to make out the famous Mumbles Lighthouse, and along the south Gower coast to the south tip of Gower at Port Eynon Point.
All of this gives a truly wonderful, panoramic, vista which is worth every effort in ascending the tower. We hope that, during your visit, the visibility is good enough for you to view all that has been mentioned. However, if it was hazy or misty it would be worthwhile to make another visit on a day of better visibility, for this alone.
There is, of course, more to visiting the Lighthouse than just enjoying the view from the top, as good as that can be. Please take the time to read the guide booklet and learn about the history of Trinity House, who were given their charter to operate by King Henry 8th the history of Nash Point Lighthouse and the maritime history of the Welsh ports in relatively recent years when the docks at both Cardiff and Barry were the busiest in the world, transporting Welsh coal, of the highest quality, all over the globe.
If, at the end of your visit, you have any questions, which are not answered in the Guide Booklet, please ask one of the Tour Guides who will do their best to provide a full explanation. Many will also be answered on other pages of this website.
Please be aware that the Lighthouse is not part of the National Museum of Wales and therefore a moderate entrance fee has to be charged in order to pay for the Visitor Centre’s upkeep, Tour Guide’s expenses (they are all volunteers) and marketing / signage of the Centre etc.
Any profit that Trinity House make from their Visitor Centres and also the lettings of the ex-keepers cottages, venue rental, weddings etc, is passed on to one of their charities who, for example assist distressed mariners and their families or assist with Cadet and Officer training expenses for those who require it. And would not otherwise be able to commit to such training.