You have no advanced search rows. Add one by clicking the '+ Add Row' button

Dovey Estuary Ferry

Loading Map
Map ReferenceSN69NW
Grid ReferenceSN6110095450
Unitary (Local) AuthorityCeredigion
Old CountyCardiganshire
The usual landing place on the south site of the Dyfi estuary was at Cerrigypenrhyn, from where poles formerly guided passengers across the sands. A refuge (platform reached by steps) was constructed for passengers caught out by the tides (see NPRN 404430). At times of highwater, the ferry ran up tot Leri to Ynyslas Bridge. The ferry boats would also sometimes carry passengers up the pill or river Clettwr to Tre'rddol. By the early 19th century, three sizes of boat appear to have been in use - Y Fferri Fach which took only foot passengers; the Y Fferri Ganol which would take horsemen, passengers and luggage and small animals (this was met at Cerrigpenrhyn by a cart); and the Y Fferri Fawr which could take herds of animals, heavy carts, carriages and horses. All were powered by oars and sail. The ferry crossing largely fell out of use after the arrival of the railway and the end of railway companies endeavours to run a service in 1868. A small-boat summer passenger service continues from Aberdyfi.

Event and Historical Information:
The first documentary reference is to a Jein ap Iorwerth of Ynys-y-Maengwyn, who was farmer or lessee under the crown of the mills of Cefn and Caethle and of the ferry at Aberdyfi in the 36th year of Henry VI (1458). Although the chronicler, Giraldus Cambrensis reported crossing the Dyfi by boat in AD 1188. The tradition rights to the ferry were retained by the Ynys-y-Maengwyn estate (Corbett family) until sold to the railway company in the 1860s. In 1863, the tolls for the old ferry were as follows: foot passenger 2d; horse and rider 6d; carriage (2 wheels) 2s 6d; one horse phaeton or four wheels 4s; two horses ditto 4s 6d; carriage and pair 7s 6d. Double fares were charged on Sundays. In 1861, the railway company began to operate a steam passenger service . A chartered paddle tug, the VICTORIA, was used at first, then the company's own tug the JAMES CONLEY, and then a vessel called the ELIZABETH built by the James Watt & Co, Birmingham. The ELIZABETH was rather large (at 121ft in length and 6ft draught) to negotiate the narrow channels, even though it was commanded by the former ferryman, Edward Bell. An hourly service was intended, the ELIZABETH regularly went aground and the old ferries would be called upon to stand in. This unreliability, plus road improvements and the completion of the railway network caused the final demise of the ferry crossing. By 1868, the ELIZABETH was reported to lying sunken on a grid-iron awash at high tide. The vessel was eventually sold to Londonderry in September 1869.

Sources include:
Green, C C, 1983, The Coastlines of the Cambrian Railway
Morgan, T O, 1863, The Aberdyfi Guide and handbook to the Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Line, 2nd edition, pg 5
OS 1st Edition 1889

Maritime Officer, August 2009.