|The proportions of this timber Severn barge are awesome|
The Purton Hulks is a collection of more than eighty craft of all ages and types, from topsail schooners to concrete hulled freight barges that are in resting in the mud flats in various stages of decay.
How they came to be there is a fascinating tale; visiting them now is a poignant and evocative experience which will grip anyone with an interest in ships or just an enthusiasm for photography – the picture opportunities are endless.
|One of several ferro-concrete hulled barges embedded in the silt|
The story began back in 1909 when erosion was first noticed and a group of redundant timber barges was hauled up onto the mud with the aim of causing silt build up over time and easing the problem. Over the years, particularly from the 1950s through to the '70s more vessels of all sizes and types were laid up along the bankside.
|Decaying gracefully by the riverside|
|A tribute column lists the craft that have been identified|
As it is the volunteer Friends of Purton group has painstakingly recorded, photographed and researched the boats, identifying fragmentary remains, campaigning for their protection and giving each a memorial plaque beside it where details of its age, size, builder and date beached are recorded.I can't tell the story better than their website so here are some more photos of this unique group.
|Eerily, this timber barge seems to be floating through a sea of grass|
|The sun sets on another ferro-concrete boat|
|This Hulk has done its job and allowed the bank to build up around it|
|Each identified Hulk has its own simple memorial panel|