New ferry boat Charlie launched between Southwold and Walberswick
PUBLISHED: 16:00 09 July 2017 | UPDATED: 11:21 11 July 2017
STEVE ADAMS 2016
It has been a common sight on a coastal river crossing for centuries.
The ferry between Southwold and Walberswick in Suffolk is believed to have started in the 11th century.
Now, the family which have run the crossing service for five generations have launched their first new vessel in 20 years.
Boat Charlie set off on her maiden voyage after a blessing delivered by Reverend Canon Harry Edwards on Saturday.
Daniella Church, whose family have been running the service since 1885, said: “My old boat, Old Bob, was getting a little bit past it - she’s about 50-something years old now and I felt it was time to replace her with a new boat.”
The ferrywoman has been rowing back and forth since she was six-years-old and accompanied her father - the ferryman before her.
The new boat was built at the International Boat Building Training College in Lowestoft.
Work started at the beginning of the year to build an exact replica of the former boat called Halcyon Days.
By road the journey is nearly 10 miles (16km) and would take over 20 minutes. Instead the ferry can cross the 104 yards (95 metres) in no time at all.
The ferry crosses the mouth of the River Blyth which forms part of Southwold Harbour, and is surrounded on either side by marshland.
It saves walkers a mile-long trip inland to the nearest footbridge.
The ferry service operate from 10am until 12.30pm and then from 2pm until 5pm.
It can carry adults, children, dogs, bicycles, buggies and pushchairs from the Walberswick and Southwold banks.
The ferry operates on various dates within the popular high summer holiday weeks, as well as during the school holidays of Easter and half-terms, carrying up to 12 passengers at a time.
The ferry departs whenever people wanting to cross show up during those hours.
Since a crossing takes between two and five minutes, there is never much of a wait.
During busy times of the year, its operator sometimes runs two boats at the same time, calling upon standby helpers.
The fare is £1 each way for adults and children older than five. Bicycles also cost £1. Dogs are carried free.
Call 01502 724 729 or go to www.explorewalberswick.co.uk/ferry