Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Campaign to save Hulks gets high-profile backing


By Liza-Jane Gillespie
February 26, 2008

A TV archaeologist has given his support to the campaign to get the Purton Hulks special recognition.

Dr Mark Horton, archaeology lecturer at the University of Bristol and presenter of BBC series Coast and Time Team regular, has given his backing to the nautical relics.

"The Hulks are the largest collection of historic vessels surviving in Britain. As a group the site is a unique archaeological resource," said Dr Horton.

The Purton Hulks are the remains of 80 old ships left on the River Severn to protect its banks almost 100 years ago.

Dr Horton, who first discovered the Hulks 13 years ago, said he will join local enthusiast Paul Barnett in his quest to raise the profile of the Hulks and help educate people about their historical importance.

Dr Horton said: "It's fantastic that Paul's drawing attention to them. Since I've been visiting the site since the mid 1990s I've just seen them get worse and worse.

"There seem to be two angles to this campaign, one is to find a way to get them protected.

"They are in a Site of Special Scientific Interest but the heritage designation doesn't cover them because they are not a ship wreck or a listed building, unfortunately they fall between all the designations.

"The second thing is it is my belief that a lot of the damage to the Hulks has been done by souvenir hunters.

"Therefore Paul's campaign to raise historical awareness of the site is absolutely vital for their protection because then people will realise what they are destroying."

Mr Barnett started campaigning to save the Purton Hulks eight years ago and said Dr Horton's support will do wonders for the site.

He said: "It's great. I couldn't believe it when my phone rang and it was him. Everything is now going in the right direction for the Hulks."

Mr Barnett is also currently collecting signatures for a petition to be handed to Andy Barnham, Secretary of State for Media, Sport and Culture, asking for protection for the Hulks.

For more information about the petition call Paul Barnett on 07833143231 or email Barnadillo@aol.com.


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