Are timbers found on Waxham beach part of an old ship wreck?

The timbers, believed to be part of a shipwreck, washed ashore at Waxham. Picture: ANDREW MIDGLEY

A beachcombing photographer has stumbled across part of an old timber shipwreck in north Norfolk.

Andrew Midgley was having a stroll along the shore at Waxham when he found the 30ft long by 10ft wide raft of wood on the sands.

He contacted county heritage experts who have identified it as coal ship which came to grief in 1842.

But the wreckage is not significant enough to warrant being saved for posterity.

Mr Midgley, 49, from Bacton said: 'The timbers were rough hewn and were held on the frame, which still looked like tree trunks, by wooden pegs.

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'It is the biggest thing I have found when walking along the beach there, but a local told me it does appear from time to time.'

The find was about half a mile east of Waxham church.

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The wreck has been inspected and recorded by Norfolk County Council's historic environment service.

Spokesman David Gurney said that working with English Heritage they believed it may be the remains of the Alderson which 'fell over on the beach' in 1842.

'The rough-hewn quality of the timbers suggests this is a vessel built in a local yard for a local trade and a common-or-garden north-east collier like the Alderson, plying its trade between Sunderland and London, would fit this profile.

'The incidence of collier wrecks on this coastline has traditionally been very high,' said Mr Gurney.

Similar finds were reported to us around Norfolk's coastline on a fairly regular basis.

'Some smaller wreck finds are reported on many occasions and sometimes in different locations as they can move around and may then be covered by sand for many years before appearing again,' he added.

The timbers will remain on the shore until they are clawed back into sea by the waves.

Mr Gurney said there were 269 wrecks currently on the council's online database, which can be accessed at

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