Godrevy Lighthouse was built in 1858–1859. The Stones reef had always been a hazard to shipping and a lighthouse had been considered many times prior to 1858 but nothing came of plans until the SS Nile was wrecked in 1854 with the loss of all on board.
The lighthouse is a white octagonal tower, 86 feet (26 m) high and made of rubble-stone and mortar. The original light was a revolving white one, with a fixed red light below the main light, which could be seen over a 45-degree arc when a ship was in danger of the reef. This was later replaced by a red sector on the main light itself.
Originally, the light was manned by three men at a time, but in 1934 the lighthouse was automated. The light flashes white/red every 10 seconds, with the red sector only being visible in the arc of danger from the reef. The range of the light is around 12 miles (19 km).Godrevy Light by Charles Thomas and Jessica Mann describes the history of this lighthouse and shows the many works of art it inspired.
The lighthouse is said to have inspired Virginia Woolf to write To the Lighthouse - though in the book, she locates the lighthouse elsewhere.