Orfordness lighthouse could be lost to the sea

Orfordness lighthouse
Image caption The coastline around Orfordness lighthouse has been eroded by strong winds and high tides

A Grade II-listed lighthouse could be lost to the sea as volunteers admit they cannot prevent further erosion.

Strong winds and high tides have been wearing away the land around Orfordness lighthouse in Suffolk, leaving it just feet from the shoreline.

Volunteers believe it could now fall into the sea, as there is now no beach below it to put down extra defences.

They are hoping to dismantle the building, which dates to 1792, and erect a smaller replica nearby.

They intend to turn it into a museum, using items salvaged from the lighthouse.

For the past four years, volunteers from the Orfordness Lighthouse Trust, which owns the building, have placed bags of shingle in front of it to protect it from the tide, but this is no longer possible.

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Media captionFilmed last year, the defences at the foot of the lighthouse aimed to prevent further erosion

Mark Thacker of the trust said: "Unfortunately, unless we build something there will probably never be another one here, the way technology has moved on.

"It's still used as a way point for people. Even local fishermen, when they're coming in, look at it and know that they are close to home."

Image copyright Mike Page
Image caption The distance from the lighthouse to the shoreline was about 20m (65ft) in 2005

In 2005, the lighthouse stood about 20m (65ft) from the sea, but today the gap stands at just a fraction of that.

Trust volunteers warned in 2016 that the lighthouse was "perilously close" to the edge, and raised funds for temporary sea defences.

The lighthouse was decommissioned in June 2013 and electrical equipment and hazardous materials have since been removed.

Image copyright Mike Page
Image caption By November 2015 the distance from the lighthouse to the sea had halved to just 10m (32ft)

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