Battery Point, Portishead, Bristol, Somerset
Stroll out to the lighthouse at Battery Point at Portishead and you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Severn estuary and the Welsh coastline – on a clear day you can see right across to the Black Mountains. It’s only a short walk, of a mile or so, starting from the Lake Grounds; follow the path through the woods and after a while you’ll come out on the open green space at the top of the headland.
Just past the seafarers memorial, a metal walkway leads to the lighthouse, built in 1931 to warn of the dangerous rocks and currents. This is a particularly precarious part of the Somerset coastline, with ships passing closer to the mainland here than anywhere else in the UK, very strong currents and a racing tide (the second fastest and highest in the world). The lighthouse originally had a huge bell which rang out in the fog, but this was removed for safety reasons and now stands at the entrance to Portishead high street.
Unsurprisingly, Battery Point has been much used as a defence site – it was a watch tower in Elizabethan times, a battery in the English Civil War and Victorian times, and a military defence during the First and Second World Wars. These days, it’s an open space for people to enjoy, a remarkable viewing point, and is favoured by sea anglers fishing mainly for cod.
For obvious reasons, you’d be crazy to attempt swimming here, but it’s a good walk from the town and if you don’t want to go back the way you came, there’s a 2.3 mile circular that takes in some interesting sculptures on the Portishead Public Art Trail.
All information correct at the time of writing