Coracle, c1930

small square boat with an oar

Coracles like this were used extensively for fishing on the River Dee as the flexible, lightweight and flat bottomed boats were ideally suited to the strong currents and rocky bed of the river.

Two men would fish at night using a net stretched between their coracles. At times several hundred coracle fishermen worked successfully on the Dee and in 1882, to use one year as an example, they caught almost 11,000 salmon on the river, along with over 600 trout. Use of coracles for this kind of work was stopped in 1920 to protect fish stocks and to increase revenue from sports fishing.

This coracle comes from Llangollen in the Dee Valley and is made from calico which was stretched over a frame made from ash wood, and then covered in pitch and coal tar to make it waterproof.

Coracles have a long history. They are recorded around the time of the Roman invasion of Britain around 2,000 years ago, although they are thought to have been in use much earlier.

Accession number 31.157


This boat is currently in store.