The twin lighthouses at Dovercourt have been a fixture on the landscape since the 1860s. Iron-framed, they sit 200m apart, linked by a stone causeway that extends out into Dovercourt Bay. As you can see from the photograph above, this is completely covered at high tide.
The differing heights of the two lighthouses are significant, allowing the lights to be aligned as ships approach. The inner lighthouse stands 15m high, while the smaller one is about 4m lower. Commissioned by Trinity House in 1862, they replaced the two redundant lighthouses in Harwich, a short way along the coast, which had become unreliable due to migrating sand bars in the Stour Estuary. For more on Harwich, see my earlier blog post here:
With the installation of marker buoys indicating the approach to Harwich harbour, the Dovercourt lighthouses became obselete, like the Harwich ones before them. In 1917, they were decommissioned, falling into a state of disrepair before being renovated in the 1980s.
The beach today is one of just five in Essex that has been awarded the coveted Blue Flag in recognition of the cleanliness of both the beach and the water. Off season, the beach is dog friendly, and with Felixstowe’s dock cranes framing the horizon, it’s a pleasant place to let them run. If you’re planning to take your pooch, make sure you clean up after them to keep the beach in pristine condition.