26 Nov 2008

Purton Hulks: more tour dates for this extraordinary site

Paul Barnett, a Marine Historian, who has family living in Whiteshill has almost single-handedly led the battle to protect Purton Hulks - and recently gained the title of 'Winner of the Nautical Archaeological Societies: National Adopt A Wreck Award 2007.'

Photos of Purton Hulks by local Scribbler Russ using camera rather than pen

In this post Paul advertises the talks and tours on offer - well worth it to disciver more about these extraordinary beasts lying on the foreshore. See previous posts here re Purton Hulks.

The Purton Ships Graveyard

I originally came across the Purton Ships Graveyard as a boy in 1976 and spent many a summer afternoon exploring the then almost intact vessels, whilst engaged in childhood fantasies of cutlass wielding pirates and a life of adventure on the high seas.

It was not until many years later in 1999 and upon returning from a life at sea for real, that my passion for the site (now sadly much eroded/destroyed) re-ignited and I embarked on a privately funded course of study to locate, chart and identify as many of the hulks a possible. To this end it has been established that the site, which stretches 1.5km to the north of Sharpness New Dock entrance, is the final resting place of 81 vessels and encapsulate steel, timber and concrete constructions.

Amazingly, ongoing research has established that the site is now deemed to be the largest of its kind in the U.K. and is formed in distinct layers including mighty ocean going schooners, reliable Severn Trows, sturdy Wich Barges, revolutionary concrete lighters and extremely rare Stroudwater and Kennet barges.

I would therefore be honoured to address your society and share the wonders of these once fine vessels whilst providing a historical narrative through the use of a unique slide presentation and an extensive photographic archive. This in turn will include information relating to original shipwright dimensions, cargo trade routes, former crewmember anecdotes and a description of the heroic beaching process onto the wind swept foreshore of this sleepy Gloucestershire hamlet.

The commentary is further complimented and vividly enhanced by the use of a mobile photographic exhibition, which aids to chronicle the life and sad demise of each vessel and in doing so, it gives a rare insight into the working live of each vessel, again during early days of abandonment and finally post decomposition/vandalism/arson/trophy hunters. Further and by the use modern surveying techniques, I have produced and will present as an aid to your membership, a schematic diagram, which locates each vessel by scale and heading.

In light of this, I am able to offer an individually tailored slide show ranging between a 30 minute site overview to a fully comprehensive two hour historical study of a long since extinct way of life. This can either be achieved by the use of an informal presentation or by conducting organised tours of the site where your members can obtain a true sense of nautical, vessel diversity and scale.

Further for those wishing to attend site, I am able to offer a tailored package which includes the exclusive use of the Lammastide a family owned country pub offering a fully licensed restaurant and bar renowned for its excellent food, real ales and the warmest of Gloucestershire welcomes.

With fondest regards, Paul Barnett Barnadillo(at)aol.com - www.morturn.com

Fore & Aft - A programme of guided tours through the remains of the Purton Hulks

In the company of L. P. Barnett, Marine Historian

Scheduled site tours
Sunday 18th January 2009 1pm
Sunday 15th February2009 1pm
Sunday 15th March 2009 1pm
Sunday 19th April 2009 2pm
Sunday 17th May 2009 2pm
Sunday 21st June 2009 2pm
Sunday 19th July 2009 2pm
Sunday 16th August 2009 2pm
Sunday 20th September 2009 2pm
Sunday 18th October 2009 2pm
Sunday 15th November 2009 1pm
Sunday 20th December 2009 1pm

Meet Purton Lower Bridge. Donations in aid of Severn Area Rescue Association. or £3.00 per person. Approx tour time 2 hours weather permitting. Slide show presentations also available upon request Tel. 07833 143 231 or Barnadillo(at)aol.com

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