The Eddystone, or the Eddystone Rocks, are a seaswept group of rocks situated some 9 statute miles (14 kilometres) south west of Rame Head in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. Formerly a treacherous hazard in the approaches to the English Channel and the port city of Plymouth, the rocks have played host to four iterations of the Eddystone Lighthouse, and are still home to the current lighthouse and the stub of its immediate predecessor.
Although the nearest point on the mainland to the Eddystone is in Cornwall, the rocks fall within the city limits of Plymouth, and hence within the county of Devon.
There have been four lighthouses on the Eddystone Rocks. Winstanley (two versions; the second however just replaced the top of the structure), Rudyard, Smeaton and finally the Douglass Lighthouse which is the present one. When the Douglass Lighthouse was completed the people of Plymouth, grateful for the countless lives which had been saved since the introduction of the lighthouses, paid for the dismantling and reassembly of the Smeaton Lighthouse from the red rocks of Eddystone to Plymouth Hoe where it is a popular tourist attraction today.
A traditional sea-shanty “The Eddystone Light” chronicles a fictional encounter between the lighthouse keeper and a mermaid, and has been recorded by The Seekers, the Weavers, and Peter Paul and Mary
The Eddystone Rocks are an extensive reef approximately 12 miles SSW of Plymouth Sound, one of the most important naval harbours of England, and midway between Lizard Head and Start Point. They are submerged at high spring tides and were so feared by mariners entering the English Channel that they often hugged the coast of France to avoid the danger and thus resulted not only in shipwrecks locally but on the rocks of the north coast of France and the Channel Islands.Given the difficulty of gaining a foothold on the rocks particularly in the predominant swell it was a long time before anyone attempted to place any warning on them.