Ex­plore the wrecks that lie on our sands

Midweek Visiter - - The Sefton Coast -

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. coun­try­side@sefton.gov.uk

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. part­ner­ship@sefton.gov.uk and we will send you a copy via We Trans­fer.

with John Dempsey

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.

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