Ynyslas Wreck Conservation

Ynyslas beach lies on the south side of the River Dovey (Afon Dyfi) opposite the town of Aberdovey (Aberdyfi) in West Wales.  On this beach are 3 intertidal shipwrecks that are thought to be the last remaining examples of the commercial Derwenlas fleet of slate schooners that operated on the River Dovey in the 19th century.  It is also thought that these vessels may have been abandoned in their current locations to act as navigational channel markers.   

 Ynyslas Hulk 1  Ynyslas Hulk 2  Ynyslas Hulk 3

Hulk 1 (July 2010)

Hulk 2 (August 2012)

Hulk 3 (August 2012)

Hulk 1 is visible at low water as soon as you set foot on the beach, and for many years MADU had been visiting this site and carrying out recording exercises.

Ynyslas Hulk 1

Trilateration survey on Ynyslas Hulk 1 in February 2011   Planning frame exercise on Ynyslas Hulk 1 in February 2011

Trilateration Survey (February 2011)

Planning Frame Exercise (February 2011)

Hulks 2 & 3 only became apparent to MADU during a visit to the area in August 2012 when they heard that a report: Garland & Groom 2011, (Remains of the Derwenlas Fleet at Ynyslas) had been produced by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW) following survey work carried out in June 2008 & June 2010.

Hulk 2 remains little more than a few small timbers protruding from the beach.

Hulk 3 however is now considerable more exposed than noted in the 2011 report.  It also appears to be fairly rapidly eroding out of the beach as it is being scoured by the River Leri as it discharges into the River Dovey.

MADU made their observations and concerns for the future of Hulk 3 known to Cadw, and in October 2012 a site visit was made together with representatives from Cadw, the RCAHMW and the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW).  It was apparent that not only was the wreck continuing to emerge from the bank of the River Leri, but that the combination of being covered twice a day at high water and being exposed to the elements at low water, was causing the vessel to break up with timbers falling away from the vessels structure and floating away on the tides.

Following the site meeting, MADU sumitted to Cadw a report:  Proposals for the Conservation of the Wooeden Vessel Emerging from the Bank of the Afon Leri at Ynyslas

The report proposed 5 stages of work:
 
Phase 1 - Emergency Stabilisation
Phase 2 - Interim Monitoring
Phase 3 - Archaeological Investigation
Phase 4 - Conservation
Phase 5 - Display
 
 
Cadw subsequently rushed through designation for all three of the Ynyslas wrecks under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act (1979), with the anticipation that funding could then be found to help with the protection of the site.  Unfortunately, to date, little of no progress has been made towards stabilising Hulk 3 as can be seen from the following pictures.
 

Ynyslas Hulk 3

Ynyslas Hulk 3 starboard frames & outer planking Jan 2013

Ynyslas Hulk 3 starboard frames & lost outer planking Jan 2014

 
Starboard Frames & Outer Planking
(January 2013)
 
 
Collapsed Intermediate Filling Frames
(January 2014)
 

Ynyslas Hulk 3 wooden bucket Oct 2012

Ynyslas Hulk 3 wooden bucket Oct 2013

Emerging Wooden Stave Bucket (Oct 2012)

Remains of the Bucket (Oct 2013)

Ynyslas Hulk 3 from above in Aug 2012

 Ynyslas Hulk 3 from above in Jan 2014

View From Above (August 2012)

View From Above (January 2014)

However MADU continues to monitor and record the deterioration and demise of the wreck. 

Recording by photographing the site from the land   Recording by photographing the site from the land

 Recording by photographing the site from the land  

Recording by photographing the site from the air   Recording by photographing the site from the air

 Recording by photographing the site from the air  

 Surveying and recording the rate of bank erosion  Surveying and recording the rate of bank erosion

Surveying and recording the rate of bank erosion   

Recording timbers that have become disarticulated before they float away   Recording timbers that have become disarticulated before they float away

Recording timbers that have become disarticulated before they float away on the tide  

In September 2014 and June 2015 MADU carried out a joint recording exercise (on behalf of the NAS) with the Dyfed Archaeological Trust see Ynyslas Wreck Recording.