If you were to wander along the banks of the river Severn south of the City Gloucester you will find a strange sight in front of you. In what is already an evocative landscape, you will come upon the Purton Hulks. These are relics and wrecks of a past Gloucester that is no longer with us save for the reappropriated buildings of the Docks and the occasional visit of the Tall ships. The Severn is not an easy river to navigate, is this why these wrecks are here? Is it the remains of traders caught out by the rip tides and currents?
There is a purpose to the shipwrecks, defence of the river bank. They are in fact completely intentional and were first abandoned at the site in the late 1800s. All manner of wooden barge and concrete boat was brought to the site and the ships deliberately scuttled. From the late 1800’s Gloucester was seeing significant trade up the Sharpness Canal and Severn via the Bristol Channel. However the land around the river is very flat and subject to erosion. To make matters worse the river’s meander is very thin in certain straits.
The area is now a designated walking area and is well worth a visit if you are in the area. Of course those who have invested in one of the Gloucester Park Homes have it just down the road all the time.