Lovers of our heritage and stunning coastline amay be interested in taking part in the first guided visit this year to one of the area’s (mostly) hidden treasures, that of the Dutch East Indiaman, the Amsterdam.
For much of the year, she lies out of sight beneath the waters of the English Channel yet, every now and again, when there is an exceptionally low tide, she can be seen clearly outlined in the mud and sediment of Bulverhythe beach. It is at these times that the Shipwreck Museum, Rock-a-Nore Road, Hastings Old Town, organises guided visits to the wreck.
Tim McDonald, Trustee, Nautical Museums Trust says it is a great oppotunity to explore the great vessel - the most complete wreck anywhere in the world of one of the magnificent Dutch East Indiaman. “Between two thirds and three-quarters of the ship remains, making her more complete than the Mary Rose,” he said. “She is, in every respect, an international nautical treasure and should rank far higher in the imposing list of Hastings and St Leonards superb heritage jewels. Yet, for many, she remains a hidden secret.”
Visitors also have the opportunity to examine the surrounding shore and see an extraordinary perfectly preserved Bronze Age forest,” he said. The trees have been dated back to around 2000-2500BC and Cretaceous rocks, estimated to be around 135-140 million years old. Tim added: “Sometimes, if the weather conditions have been a bit turbulent, these rocks can split and this is when you might detect fossills.”
The first visit of this year takes place on Wednesday, May 16, starting at 6.30pm. Visitors should assemble at the Viewing Platform, which is to be found by Bulverhythe beach at the far side of the railway bridge at the end of Bridge Way, West St Leonards.
Tickets are available for purchase in the Shipwreck Museum shop, in person or by telephone on 01424 437452. The cost of £6 for adults and £2 for children include a copy of the fully-illustrated Amsterdam guidebook by Dr Peter Marsden, founder of the Museum and renowned expert on the wreck. Tickets can also be purchased from the walk leaders on the day itself