Campaigners celebrate victory for Purton Hulks

Saturday 25th September 2010

* By Claire Marshall »

MARITIME heritage enthusiasts are celebrating a “momentous” victory after a significant historical site was given protection for the future.

The Purton Hulks, a collection of shipwrecked boats that sit on the shore of the River Severn, have been formally adopted by British Waterways after 12 years of negotiations between the company and the Friends of Purton.

British Waterways has taken steps to register ownership of the land encompassing the hulks – some 80 timber boats that were intentionally beached and left to protect the banks of the Severn.

Brian Casey, of British Waterways, said: “We have checked our records on this and cross referenced these with the Land Registry and can confirm that British Waterways own the land on which the Hulks sit.”

Chairman of the Friends of Purton Paul Barnett said he was elated to hear the news.

“This is a great day for these last remnants of our maritime history,” he said.

“For too many years we have witnessed our heritage be habitually destroyed by vandalism and arson, now at last British Waterways, by taking this monumental decision, have embraced the challenge to ensure that these few remaining relics to are to be given a fighting chance. “We therefore applaud British Waterways and welcome the chance to strengthen existing ties with the landowner for the benefit of the region’s heritage and tourism.”

The announcement followed news earlier this year that the site’s last remaining Kennet-built canal boat the Harriett was given legal protection as a Scheduled Ancient Monument – the first vessel on the site to be given such protection.

The Friends of Purton now feel that because ownership of the site has been recorded with English Heritage, Natural England and the county archaeologist there is little to stand in the way of the site being registered for more designation and protection.

To find out more about the hulks and the Friends of Purton visit www.friendsofpurton.org.uk

via Campaigners celebrate victory for Purton Hulks (From Gazette Series).

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