A few days away exploring Gloucester and the Cotswold’s gave an opportunity to explore a site that I have had bookmarked for a number of years but thought I would never see for myself.
Anyone that has read my blog for long enough, will know my love of canals, boats and pretty much anything with a nautical theme, so after listening to a radio broadcast about the ‘Purton hulks’, my interest was piqued.
Purton is situated on the southern bank of the River Severn, about half a mile from the port of Sharpness.
A river bank collapse in 1909 lead to concerns that the canal may be breached, so a collection of old steel barges, Severn trows and concrete barges were deliberately run aground to reinforce the banks. These hulks were then deliberately holed, so as the sediment from the river may weight them down further into position.
The beaching of this varied collection of boats continued up until 1965, where the remains are still visible.
The weathering of the remains are perfect for my appetite of weathered wood and rust, the autumn sunshine and cloudy conditions adding a little more drama to the scene.
Perhaps some time in the future, I could return to explore a little more this fascinating piece of maritime history.
Saturday morning and I have a date with Dartmoor once again, doing my best to make up for my enforced lockdown absences.
Today’s destination is one of my favourites, Whiteworks, a disused tin mining area not far from Princetown.
Tin mining in the area dates as far back as 1790, mining here was at its most prolific here as the demand for tin for the industrial revolution increased, the ore was sent from here to the Calenick smelting house in Truro, as at this time, Devon had no smelting houses.
By 1880, the mining was ceased, only to be revived briefly again in the early 20th century as the value of ore increased but by 1914 mining was discontinued, the land then used for livestock farming and pony breeding.
It is the remnants of this history that brings me back here time and again, the fallen remains of the stone cottages, the fenced off areas showing where the mining shafts once were.
This place has character in spades, where buildings once were, trees now stand, what is left of the cottages brickwork is covered in a verdant cloak of lichen, adding more texture for the photographer’s eye.
Some of my favourite trees of Dartmoor are located here, one in particular torn asunder at its root, it’s branches a tangle of twigs, defiantly reaching for the skies, yet so near to the ground, today this beauty is emphasized by the moody skies blown along by an early autumn breeze.
I am here for pleasure but it is not hard to imagine the brutal nature of the work that once existed in this chapter of Dartmoor’s history.
This rugged beauty of Dartmoor will continue to draw me in like a magnet, it is always a pleasure to spend time here, exploring whatever it wishes to give.