Photo with kind permission of Trinity House.
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POSITION 50° 24'.0 N 03° 28'.9 W
Location: Southern Point of Torbay, South Devon
No. On Admiralty List of Lights: 0244
Present Tower Built: 1906
Tower Composition: Local stone/ rendered sand & cement facing
Height of Tower: 16 ft 6 ins (5 m)
Designer: Sir Thomas Matthews
Focal Height of Light: 191 ft (58 m) above mean high water
First Lit: September 1906
Light Characteristic: white group flashing every 15 seconds
Visible Range on clear night: nominal 12 nautical miles
Unwatched station: 1921
Automated: 31st May 1991
Berry Head, designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty, is an extensive limestone headland. The near-perpendicular cliffs rise 197 ft (60 m) and the constant action of the waves has gouged out huge caverns. The plateau is green with plants, some of which are rare: pink thrift, white sea campion, autumn squill, wild rock rose, goldilocks and honewort. The rocks and cliffs abound with jackdaws, pigeons, kestrels, kittiwakes, gulls and guillemots. Fine views are to be had and it is possible on a clear day to see Portland Bill, over thirty-five miles away.
Torbay and Brixham Roads have long been sheltered anchorages, surrounded as they are by high hills and cliffs. Fortifications were erected on the headland in 1793 against threatened invasion by French armies and strengthened with limestone in 1803, when gun batteries were added to protect the anchorages. They were dismantled by 1820 and returned to civilian use, but the ramparts remain, overgrown with ivy.
At the end of Berry Head, beyond the coastguard station, is the lighthouse, which forms part of the chain of south coast beacons. The lighthouse, which was built in 1906, was converted to unwatched acetylene operation in 1921 and modernised and converted to mains electricity in 1994. It came to be known as the smallest, highest and deepest light in the British Isles - the tower is diminutive, requiring no further elevation than that given by the headland itself, and the optic was originally turned by the action of a weight falling down a 148 ft (45 m) deep shaft, now made redundant by a small motor.