The Appledore-Instow Ferry: A Journey Through Time

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The Appledore-Instow Ferry is a charming and historic service that has been connecting the two North Devon villages of Appledore and Instow for centuries.

Operated by dedicated volunteers, the ferry provides a vital link across the estuary, offering both locals and visitors a unique and enjoyable way to travel between these two picturesque locations.

Cost and Duration

The ferry operates on a card payment-only system. The fares are as follows:

  • Adults (16 and over): £2
  • Children (1 to 15): £1
  • Tots (under 1 year): Free
  • Bicycles: £2
  • Dogs: Free

The journey across the estuary takes approximately 10-15 minutes, providing a quick and convenient mode of transport.

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The History of the Ferry

Appledore-Instow Ferry
Appledore-Instow Ferry

The ferry service has a rich history that dates back hundreds of years. In the 1850s, when the railway came to Instow, the ferry became an important means of transport, ferrying both goods and passengers across the river.

The ferrymen, who operated the service, had their regular passengers and clients for collecting goods to and from the railway.

The ferry service saw its busiest period in the early 1950s when the construction of the Yelland power station led to a significant increase in regular passengers.

However, the closure of the railway in 1963 due to the Beeching cuts led to a decline in passenger numbers and the ferry service was closed during the winter months.

Despite these challenges, the community rallied to keep the ferry service alive.

In 2011, a group of determined individuals secured a grant and launched a successful fundraising initiative that allowed them to purchase a boat and obtain the necessary licenses to operate the ferry service.

Times of the Year it Operates

The Appledore-Instow Ferry operates during the summer season. However, it’s important to note that the ferry service is subject to weather conditions and may be cancelled at short notice.

The ferry can only access the steps at Instow at limited times on either side of high tide.

In Summary…

The Appledore-Instow Ferry is more than just a mode of transport; it’s a testament to the resilience and spirit of the local community.

Despite numerous challenges, the community has worked tirelessly to ensure that this historic service continues to operate, providing a vital link between Appledore and Instow.

Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor to the area, a trip on the Appledore-Instow Ferry is a unique and enjoyable experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Author Matt Ogborne
Matt Ogborne
About the Author

Welcome to! I’m Matt, a seasoned explorer and avid fan of Bideford and the broader North Devon area. With over a decade of consistent family visits, virtually every weekend, I’ve immersed myself in the rich history and vibrant culture Bideford & North Devon.

On this site, you’ll find a wealth of knowledge amassed from my adventures here. From in-depth local guides to engaging blog posts about Bideford. Whether you’re looking for recommendations on things to do or guidance on where to stay we have you covered. Join me as we delve into the heart of Bideford, North Devon – a town that’s more than just a destination, but an experience waiting to be discovered.

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