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Purton Hulks

Helen Mark discovers the fascinating world of the UK's largest ship's graveyard, Purton Hulks, which hosts the largest collection of maritime wrecks above water in Britain.

Helen Mark discovers the fascinating world of the UK's largest ship's graveyard Purton Hulks, the largest collection of maritime wrecks above water in Britain.

What began as the intentional beaching of a small fleet of semi-redundant timber lighters in the winter of 1909 to strengthen the nearby eroding canal bank eventually grew into 81 vessels that and today represents the largest collection of maritime artefacts on the foreshore of mainland Britain - including boats that hold scheduled monument status, the same protection afforded by Westminster Abbey and Stonehenge.

Resting on the banks of the River Severn they still provide a barrier of protection for an important stretch of the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal which runs alongside the village of Purton in Gloucestershire. Following an on-going programme of research carried out by a dedicated team of volunteers, the stories of these ships have finally been revealed and their future is being protected for generations to come. Helen Mark uncovers the fascinating history of these stranded ship and the emotional resonance that they still hold for visitors today as she meets with those who care for these ships and manage the special landscape that surrounds it.

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