Coracles have been used in the Gorge for centuries, long before the world-famous Iron Bridge was built.
They were transport for poor people, important for fishing, helping in times of flood …. and for poaching! The coracle men also had a great sense of fun!
The last Coracle maker’s shed in England
The coracle men called it their old curiosity shop!
The old wooden shed was full of coracle making tools, traps, fishing nets and many stories.
The shed also contained many strange animated characters which the coracle men would fly across the river! Just for fun!
The shed is now completely empty after Eusty, the last of the coracle men, died in 2003.
Eusty Rogers, the last of generations of coracle men often built coracles in the garden of his family house near the shed. Discover more about the Rogers family here.
Phyllis Blakemore gives a vivid description of the shed and its contents in 1984:
Eusty invited me to see his workshop, built precariously on the river bank.Phyllis Blakemore
It was a fascinating jumble of tools some of which were in every day use, together with relics of the past. The walls, floor and bench were crowded with artefacts. Eusty pointed out old paddles, (called spades by the coracle men) and showed me ancient walking sticks carved with bird and animal heads. One corner of the workshop was crammed with fishing rods, nets and waders. In another I saw scythes, rakes, axes, and chains. The floor was strewn with wicker baskets, rabbit nets, mole and rat traps. Over it all was a pleasant smell of tar, oil, rope and freshly sawn wood.