Explore the wrecks that lie on our sands
OPPORTUNITIES to visit some of the shipwrecks off the Sefton coast are few and far between – most lie far out, mired in treacherous soft sand or surrounded by impassable channels which never empty out sufficiently for safe passage even on the lowest of tides.
Such wrecks are best observed from a distance through binoculars from a high vantage point in the dunes.
But a few times each year tides are low enough to lead walks out to get close to one or two of these fascinating monuments to our maritime history, so we’ll be setting out from Formby (very) early in the morning on Sunday, October 22 for a look at the wrecks of the Ionic Star and Bradda.
The Ionic Star ran aground in October 1939, as she was coming into Liverpool from Brazil carrying refrigerated goods.
She was stuck fast on Mad Wharf – a bank that runs parallel to the coastline off Formby.
Fortunately no lives were lost when she ran aground, but salvage operations proved difficult as she was so far offshore and were abandoned for the remains to be used as target practice for the RAF.
Not far from the Ionic Star lies the wreck of the Bradda, which was carrying coal to the Irish Free State in January 1936 when she ran into difficulties in gale force conditions and the captain decided to head back to the safety of Liverpool.
The Bradda never made it back to port and five of the crew were lost, with just one survivor, Samuel Ball, living to tell the tale of the tragedy.
John Dempsey will be leading the walk out to learn more about the wrecks and wildlife in the low tide zone, but booking is essential as these events are always very popular and fill up fast!
To book a place, and for more details, call Sefton’s coast and countryside team on 0151 934 2967 or email coast. firstname.lastname@example.org
Wellington boots and waterproof clothing are absolutely essential if you are planning on joining this walk.
Please do not attempt to visit the shipwrecks off the Sefton coast on your own unless you have a thorough knowledge of the tides, weather and channels – all of which can change remarkably quickly.
Far better, safer and more fun to join a guided walk.
For a free PDF version of our Shipwrecks Of The Sefton Coast booklet, which details 12 of the wrecks that lie offshore between the Alt and the Ribble, email landscape. email@example.com and we will send you a copy via We Transfer.
The wreck of the Ionic Star lies half submerged on the coast
The skeletal remains of the Bradda, which was wrecked in 1936
The Sefton Coast Landscape Partnership promotes the cultural and natural heritage of the Sefton coast and is supported by Sefton Council, Natural England, the National Trust, Lancashire Wildlife Trust, the RSPB and the Mersey Forest. This column looks at the flora, fauna and history of the coastline, and the work the various partners carry out to protect it.