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Trafalgar Weekend - Beacon at Well Hill

Well Hill Beacon

On 7th November 1805 The Times newspaper published the news that the British Fleet, commanded by Vice Admiral Lord Nelson, had defeated a combined fleet of French and Spanish ships off Cape Trafalgar on Monday 21st October.

Unfortunately, this victory was marred by the tragic death of Lord Nelson who, in his finest hour, was struck by a musket bullet from a French marksman and fell, fatally wounded.

To commemorate these events, the Well Hill Residents' Association in partnership with Shoreham Parish Council will be lighting a beacon on Well Hill on Friday 21st October 2005 at 7:15pm. This will be part of the National Beacon Chain. Prior to the beacon lighting there will be hot drinks and soup from 6:45. Lighted touches will be provided and the West Hill Morris will entertain until 7pm when Cannon Leslie Virgo will bless the beacon and say a prayer for sailors.

You can be involved in many ways:

  • Turn up on the evening of Friday 21st October to watch the beacon being lit.
  • Help with stewarding
  • Sponsor a poster or banner
  • Hold an event of your own to start after the beacon has been lit

Getting to Well Hill

There is no public parking in Well Hill. There is no on road parking due to all roads in Well Hill being narrow country lanes. If you wish to visit Well Hill there is a regular bus service - R3 - from Orpington to Chelsfield Village. The nearest bus stop is 'Jubilee Road' or 'Hewitts/Bo-Peep' both of which are a 12 minutes walk from the beacon site. For bus timetables see R3 Timetable - Orpington Station to Chelsfield and R3 Timetable - Chelsfield to Orpington High Street

More details will follow.


For further detail see the Trafalgar Weekend website and the HMS Victory website. See also the Royal Naval Museum website.


At the time of the Spanish Armada, a chain of beacons was used to signal messages across England. It took 40 minutes to send a message from Plymouth to Carlisle (about 380 miles) giving a speed of about 250mph.

The sun will set at 16:54 GMT (5:54pm BST) on October 21st. To calculate sunrise and sunset times for any part of the world visit the U.S. Naval Observatory Well Hill is 51 degrees 21 minutes north and 0 degrees 9 minutes east.

The Well Hill Beacon was erected at 10:15 on Wednesday 19th October on the Thames Reservoir in Well Hill Lane and is 170 metres (510) above sea level.

Other Beacons

See our list of other beacons or to add your beacon to our list.


Try our Trafalgar and Lord Nelson quiz.


Last Updated: 28 September, 2015
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