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Almost forty thousand shipwrecks could be hidden off British shores

Ian Harvey

When the tide hits its lowest point, the remains of a ship which sank in the 18th century emerge off the coast of Devon. The wreck was thought to have been a ship loaded with wine. The name Sally is still visible on the decayed hull. The ship one of three recently found in the area, which has been granted protected status to help Britain preserve its long and proud maritime tradition.

Historical England estimates there are close to forty thousand shipwrecks in British waters. This suggests that there are many more discoveries to be made in the decades to come.

The three shipwrecks were first documented when the remains of a ship were found in the muddy Axe River in the year 2001. After careful analysis of the site, it was speculated the wood dated from the 15th to the 17th centuries. It is thought that the boat was either used for trade or was run by a group of fishermen. It’s said that Axmouth was responsible for roughly 1/7th of all of the England’s trade during that time.

The ships lie just a couple hundred feet apart on a beach in the northern part of Devon, which has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It looks as if the ships were exposed to natural wear from the environment over the past couple decades. The wrecks are actually open for the public to explore and learn from.

North Devon Coast Photo Credit

North Devon Coast Photo Credit

The two eighteenth-century merchant vessels have delighted historians. It’s an awe-inspiring sight to witness these ships emerge when the tide is just right.

Researchers are certain that more and more ships will begin to surface over the coming decades. The shores of Britain are slowly shifting due to the forces of nature, so ships will likely begin to pop up out of nowhere. It’s becoming a treasure hunt for residents. The government has allowed the public to check the records and look for them during times that they reappear. It’s hoped that these shipwreck enthusiasts will discover a massive amount of unseen wrecks as they begin to understand more about the complicated tides throughout the country. Luckily the country grants protection for any investigation of shipwrecks before the 1840s.

The smaller boat is speculated to have been a tiny merchant vessel that was working in Bristol Channel a couple of centuries ago. It’s lying in a way that suggests it was picked up by the water and thrown onto the sand during a powerful storm. Historians working on the case said that they identified the three ship ruins while surveying the coastal heritage of Devon.

Luckily for archaeologists, the ships are preserved well enough to shed light on the history of British seas. Historians are proud to have opened such precious ruins to the public to showcase the country’s proud maritime history. Typically, only divers can investigate old ships, but the tides give rare opportunities for adventurers to explore for generations to come.

the Celtic Sea and North Sea

the Celtic Sea and North Sea