Devon’s Shipwrecks

Heritage Calling

Shipwrecks don’t just happen in the deep sea: many ships are driven ashore or lie slowly decaying along riverbanks, estuaries, and creeks. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has given protection to three such ‘shoreline’ wrecks on Historic England’s recommendation. For all three, one of the major factors in assessing their national significance for protection was their rarity. Generally speaking, the further back we go in time, the rarer the evidence is for shipwrecks around England’s coasts.

So just how rare are the wrecks?

Written by Serena Cant, Marine Information Officer, Historic England.

The Axe Boat, Axmouth

Axe26-5-09-JA (3)detail stringer and port frames A close up of part of the Axe Boat’s hull © Southampton University

This vessel was first found buried in the mud in the River Axe at Axmouth in 2011. Sampling of the timbers suggested that it was constructed between 1400 and 1640. It is carvel-built (planks laid edge-to-edge) with oak…

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