Page last updated at 08:02 GMT, Friday, 27 August 2004 09:02 UK

Sea threatens historic lighthouse

A lighthouse that has helped guide ships through treacherous waters for more than 200 years is in danger of being swallowed up by the sea.

Land all around Orford Ness lighthouse in Suffolk is fast disappearing and now erosion is threatening the foundations.

In the past 10 months, five metres of beach have been lost and the sea is threatening the lighthouse.

Keith Seaman from Trinity House said: "Its long term future does not look good and we're very concerned."

A study is under way into the future of the lighthouse and its surrounding land.

Options being considered, are to move the lighthouse inland or build a new one on a more stable foundation.

"I'm assured by my superiors at Trinity House that a navigation aid will remain here, whether it is in this tower or in another structure to be erected," said Mr Seaman.

Built in 1792, the Orford Ness light has survived countless storms, German machine-gun fire and even flying bombs.

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