Discover the sunken ships hidden within the riverbank at Purton Hulks, the UK’s largest ship graveyard, a unique place to get up close to ships over 100 years old. The boats were first sunk on the banks in 1909, in order to prevent erosion of the banks and protect the Sharpness Canal. Over time, silt fills the empty ships, which weighs them down and keeps them in place. Many of the older ships have been covered with grass, blending them into the landscape. Keep an eye out for wooden sterns and pieces sticking out of the banks! This area of Purton Hulks can be accessed via a walk beside the Sharpness Canal, which was established to avoid a long turn in the Severn and speed up shipping time. Today, 80 boats lie within the banks ranging from schooners, barges, trows, dockyard and work boats. Severn Trows were shallow, flat-bottomed barges that sailed the Severn from South Wales and Bristol up to Worcester and Stourport. They were designed to be strong in choppy waters and suit the varying tides characteristic of the estuary.
Friends of Purton protect the hulks through their research and documentation of the sunken ships. They offer guided tours of the area, so you can find out more about the fascinating history of these many ships.
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Litter Picking Tips:
Find out how you can help keep your local beaches and coastline for everyone to enjoy while protecting the special features of the Severn Estuary.
- Stick to public rights of way and avoid trampling sensitive habitats like saltmarsh and reefs of Sabellaria (honeycomb tubeworm).
- Leave natural materials behind and don’t take any rocks plants or other items home.
- Avoid disturbing wildlife.
- Keep your dog under effective control to protect wildlife by avoiding disturbance along the coast, especially where birds are feeding, breeding and resting.
- Check tide times and weather forecasts before you visit the coast.
For more information take a look at the ASERA Good Practice Guidelines