Burnham-on-Sea is notable for its beach and mudflats, which are characteristic of Bridgwater Bay and the rest of the Bristol Channel where the tide can recede for over 1.5 miles (2.4 km). Burnham is close to the estuary of the River Parrett where it flows into the Bristol Channel, which has the second highest tidal range in the world of 15 metres (49 ft.), second only to Bay of Fundy in Eastern Canada. The constantly shifting sands have always been a significant risk to shipping in the area.
The low wooden pile lighthouse or Lighthouse on legsis 36 feet (11 m) high; the light being at 23 feet (7.0 m) was built by Joseph Nelson in 1832, in conjunction with the High Lighthouse to replace the original Round Tower Lighthouse, which itself had been built to replace the light kept burning in the tower of St Andrews Church to guide fishing boats into the harbour.
It stands on nine wooden piers, some with plate metal reinforcement. The structure is whitewashed with a vertical red stripe on the sea side.
The lights were inactive between 1969 and 1993 and were re-established when the High Lighthouse lights were permanently discontinued. They have a focal plane of 7 metres (23 ft.) and provide a white flash every 7.5s plus a directional light (white, red, or green depending on direction) at a focal plane of 4m. It is operated by Sedgemoor District Council.
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