Run Aground...

by Jack Mathews February. 14, 2021 372 views

Next up in my long list of local hot spots is the Purton Ships Graveyard which lies between the Sharpness canal and the River Severn. 86 boats were beached here in the 20th century in an effort to combat tidal erosion after the bank of the river collapsed in 1909.

Grim to say the least...

Grim to say the least...

We headed out on a cold wintery afternoon and upon arrival stumbled into a blanket of thick fog and even thicker mud which made for a great way to christen my new boots! The river is located just a short walk from the sleepy town of Purton.

If you find the spooky pub you're headed the WRONG way!

If you find the spooky pub you're headed the WRONG way!

After passing the spooky pub we actually realised we went the wrong way and ended up climbing into a disused spillway to get onto the right path where you will start to see the boats almost immediately.

Envoy...

Envoy...

Along the footpath there are many signs such as the one above which offer a great insight into why this somewhat strange idea had to be put in place.

Info...

Info...

There are 86 boats of varying sizes beached at various heights and locations along the river bank. Consisting of barges and smaller vessels this idea was brought into action after major collapses of the river bank threatened the canal just 50m apart!

Murky waters...

Murky waters...

Land ahoy...

Land ahoy...

Mossy...

Mossy...

Run aground...

Run aground...

Silhouette...

Silhouette...

This stretch of the river was also the sight of a terrible disaster during the 1960s involving the now demolished Severn Railway Bridge.

Wreckage of the Arkendale H & Westdale H best seen at low tide...

Wreckage of the Arkendale H & Westdale H best seen at low tide...

On the 25th October 1960 two barges called the Arkdendale H & Westdale H were caught in thick fog and strong tides. These conditions caused the boats to be washed down towards the bridge where they collided with one of the columns. A section of the bridge subsequently collapsed and hit one of the barges which caused a large explosion that tragically took the lives of 5 men.

Demolished...

Demolished...

The bridge was deemed uneconomical to repair and was unfortunately demolished August 1967. Part of the bridge can still be seen if you walk down the main Canal where there is a small memorial paying tribute to the men that lost their lives.

I thought I would just finish this one off with a few more photos! The conditions were less than ideal so some of the pictures I took weren't too great but figured they are worth an inclusion!

Ancient...

Ancient...

One of the older boats...

One of the older boats...

If you are ever after an easy going little adventure on a Sunday I would definitely recommend a visit to this site! There are many photo opportunities here and I am sure it would be even better on a nice summers day!

Thanks for reading, stay safe all! :)

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Gethin Thomas 2 months ago

It's a fascinating spot. I've been a couple of times and over the years there is less and less of the boats as they silt up and grow over. There is definitely something spooky about the place. I love all the close up details potential. https://www.photoblog.com/gethinthomas/2020/07/12/the-purton-hulks/

2 months ago Edited
Jack Mathews Replied to Gethin Thomas 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Was a really cool spot to explore! Definitely made a bit spooky with all the fog, I can see on your blog you had some fog too lol!

1 month, 4 weeks ago Edited
Gethin Thomas Replied to Jack Mathews 1 month, 4 weeks ago

I think the place is more dramatic with the fog and with the tide out. I've also been there on a summer day with the tide in and it is so different. I would love to see tall ships travelling up the canal, they still do sometimes to get to Gloucester docks.

1 month, 4 weeks ago Edited
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