Estuaries and Ferries

*Coronavirus Update*

As we start to come out of lockdown, the ferry operators below are starting to get back to a 'new normal'. As a result, we are starting to collate and update this web page with the latest operating dates and times. Whilst we complete this work, we would advise contacting the ferry companies directly, prior to travel, in order to confirm operating details. Latest government guidelines do require you to wear a mask whilst on public transport and that does include ferries.

For more information on the use of the Path, please check our latest Covid-19 impact update in our news section. Thank you for your understanding at this challenging time.

The nature of the Coast Path means that many ferries must be used to cross estuaries along the length of the Path.

Ferries can be subject to change due to weather conditions, tides and times of the day. Ferry pick up and drop off location can also vary.

We advise that you check with the relevant ferry or water taxi before travelling, rather than relying solely on the information below.

A couple of the estuaries can only be crossed at low tide by paddling across or via a tidal footbridge, so you will need to consult Tide Tables. These can be found in 'The Complete Guide to the South West Coast Path', which can be purchased from our shop here or you will receive FREE as a member. Find out more about membership here

Below, listed in path order, are the river crossings you’ll encounter whilst on the Coast Path. Further information can also be found on the relevant walk description pages.

North Devon

Instow to Appledore (Torridge Estuary)

Phone: 07710 836317 (daytime only)

Email: [email protected]


An optional means of crossing the Torridge without passing through Bideford. Since the ferry is bound by tides, operating times vary daily so walkers are urged to check the website for operating times.

Ferry Service Runs: Generally, 2 hours either side of high tide, between 1st April and 31st October.

North Cornwall

Rock to Padstow (The Camel Estuary)


Phone: 01841 532239 / 07773 081574

Email: [email protected]


The Ferry Will Depart:

High tide: Padstow Slip – Rock Slip.

Low tide: St Saviours Point, Padstow - Daymer Bay, Rock over the extremely low water period. 

Ferry Service Runs: Across the estuary from Rock to Padstow, 7 days a week, all year, roughly every 20 minutes from 08:00 am as follows:

Water Taxi:

An evening water taxi service operates between Rock and Padstow (weather and tides permitting). Easter – end October: 19:00 – midnight. 

Phone: 01208 862815 (09:00 – 17.00)/07778 105297 (Direct boat line)

Email: [email protected]


Newquay to Crantock (The Gannel Estuary)

The ways you can cross the Gannel depend on the time of year and state of the tide. These are:

Penpol tidal footbridge: The Coast Path route uses a tidal footbridge near Penpol Creek, which is passable for 3 - 4 hours either side of low water.

Fern Pit Ferry Crossing: Fern pit, Riverside Crescent, Newquay, Cornwall TR7 1PJ:             

The ferry Service runs: Daily from May to Mid-September, 7 days a week 09:30 - 18:00 (weather dependent).

Phone: 01637 873181

Email: [email protected]


Trenance footbridge: About 1 mile upstream from Penpol, where the estuary turns into a river (Grid Ref SW 813 607) is another footbridge that is passable at almost all states of the tide. From here a bridleway via Trevemper takes you back to Penpol. on the rare occasions when this bridge is impassable, you can always cross using the A3075 road bridge a further ½mile upstream.

The BBC website has a tide table for Newquay covering the next 7 days.

Hayle Estuary

Compared to the other estuaries, the Hayle estuary only extends a short way inland, and as there is no ferry, the Coast Path runs around the edge.

Although suburban in places, it is a pleasant stroll which will take about an hour. At low tide, it looks deceptively easy to wade across the mouth of the estuary but this is VERY DANGEROUS and should NEVER be attempted due to the strong currents, deceptively deep water, very steep bank on the Lelant side and quicksand riverbed.

South Cornwall

Gillan to St Anthony (Gillan Creek)

The main Coast Path route runs around Gillan Creek, but for an hour either side of low tide, you can ford the creek which cuts about 2 miles off the route. See the tide table here.

At the crossing point there are stepping-stones which can be very slippery, so it’s safer to paddle across (it should be no more than knee deep).

Ferry Service Runs: Between 1st April – 31st October, on-demand during normal office hours – running approximately 3 hours either side of high tide when the stepping-stones are submerged.

Phone: 01326 231357

Email: [email protected]



An alternative to the ferry, the following taxi companies can take walkers around the river.

Telstar Taxis 01326 221007

Meneage Taxis: 01326 560530 / 07773 817156.

West Cornwall

Helford River

Ferry Service Runs: Daily from 1st April to 31st October: 09:30 to 17:00 on demand. July and August ferry may run into the evening.


An alternative to the ferry, the following taxi companies can take walkers around the river.

Telstar Taxis. Phone: 01326 221007

Meneage Taxis. Phone: 01326 560530 / 07773 817156.


A ferry crosses the Fal Estuary from the bustling port of Falmouth across to the village of St Mawes, and then change to a smaller ferry that links to the other arm of the estuary at Place. The ferry between Falmouth and St Mawes runs every day throughout the year.

Ferries operate from Falmouth Prince of Wales Pier all year and Custom House Quay summer only. 

Ferry Service Runs: April to October from 09:00 to 17:00 running every ½ hour, subject to demand. For more details/timetables for both ferries on the Fal River:

Phone01326 741194

Email: [email protected]


Water Taxi service:

Operates between Falmouth and St Mawes or Place, weather permitting, between March and October, 09:00 to 21:00 (until 10.30pm May-Sept).

Phone: 07522 446659 (Advisable to phone 2-3 days in advance in the summer)

Email: [email protected]


St Mawes - Place Creek

Water Taxi Service:

St Mawes Kayaks also offer an out-of-hours alternative to the Place Ferry, they also run between November and early January and can accommodate walkers who may want an early start from Falmouth i.e. before 08:00.

Phone: 07971 846786


Fowey to Polruan (River Fowey)

Polruan Ferry Co Ltd. A ferry operates all year at 10-15 min intervals.

Phone: 01726 870232

Email: [email protected]

Ferry Service Runs:

During winter months and summer evenings, a ferry runs to Town Quay (center of Fowey). During summer months, daytime service runs to Whitehouse slipway (situated on the Esplanade). Check the information boards at the landing points for current times, especially during August when the service may change due to local regattas.

Mount Edgcumbe to Plymouth Cremyll Ferry (River Tamar)

Phone: 01752 253153

Website: [email protected]

The passenger ferry operates depending on weather, tides and other circumstances permitting all year round at 30-minute intervals with an 8-minute crossing time. Contact the ferry operator if you are relying on this service, particularly if expecting a fairly late finish.

Ferry Service runs:

South Devon

Plymouth Sutton Harbour to Mount Batten Park (River Plym)

Although the main route of the Coast Path crosses the River Plym via Laira Bridge, you can take a 5-mile shortcut by catching a ferry from the Barbican/ Sutton Harbour across to Mount Batten Park. Daily throughout the year every 30 minutes. Contact the ferry operator if you are relying on this service, particularly if expecting a fairly late finish.

Phone: 07930 838614

Email: [email protected]


Ferry Service Runs:

Wembury Point to Newton Ferrers and Noss Mayo (River Yealm)

A small ferry takes walkers across the mouth of the Yealm, 7 days a week 

Phone: 07817 132727


Ferry Service Runs: From 1 April to 30 September, every day between 10:00- 16:00 daily. (Service may be restricted to core hours of 10 am - 12 noon and 3 pm - 4 pm each day, during bad weather or quieter times.)  Times can also be found on the signal board which can be used to call the ferry.

Mothecombe to Wonwell (River Erme)

This estuary has to be forded. At each side of the estuary, there are information panels with aerial photos showing the best route across - this is roughly between the old coastguard cottages on the Mothecombe side and the Wonwell slipway. If you cross within an hour of low tide, the water should be no more than knee-deep, and underfoot is a mix of sand and pebbles. See the tide table here.

Alternatively, it is about an 8-mile walk around the estuary, mainly on minor lanes.

Bigbury to Bantham (River Avon)

The ferry runs each day of the week 1000-1200 and 1400-1600, until the end of September. More information can be found here:

There is also an attractive 9 mile waymarked Avon Estuary Walk that will take you up and back to the first bridging point at Aveton Gifford.

Salcombe to East Portlemouth (Kingsbridge Estuary)

Phone: 01548 842061 / 07769 319375

Email: [email protected] 


Ferry Service Runs: All year. Please note that the ferry point is Jubilee Pier in the summer & Whitestrand Pontoon in the winter. Contact ferry operator, Simon Shortman if relying on this service, particularly if expecting a late finish.

Dartmouth to Kingswear (River Dart)

The Lower Ferry operates 7 days a week all year, apart from Christmas Day.

Phone: 01803 752342

Email: [email protected]


If you are lucky, you may be joined by dolphins who are quite regularly seen playing in the bow wave.

Dartmouth Passenger Ferry (River Dart)

Dartmouth to Kingswear passenger ferry.

Phone: 01803 555872


The ferry service runs approximately every 15 minutes (more frequently in high season).

Ferry Service runs:

Shaldon to Teignmouth (River Teign)

This is England's longest-running passenger ferry, with written records of the ferry dating back to 1296. Ferry operated by Greg Allen:

Phone: 07896 711822 / 07940 503314


The ferry runs: - Between Teignmouth back beach, near the Lifeboat House and Shaldon Beach, with restricted service in winter. The ferry runs on-demand and approximately every 10-15 minutes in busy periods. Winter weekends start at 10:00 and summer weekends start at 09:00

Starcross to Exmouth (River Exe)

A passenger ferry runs across the Exe from Starcross Pier to Exmouth harbour. Contact Exe to Sea Cruises on:

Phone: 01626 774770 / 07974 022536

Or check the facebook page for updates

Ferry Service Runs: 1 May – 31 October.

From Starcross: every hour daily from 10:10 to 16:10 (and 17:10 mid-May to mid-September).

From Exmouth: every hour daily from 10:40 to 16:40 (and 17:40 (mid-May to mid-September).

If the ferry is not running, the Exe Estuary Trail is an off-road cycle route that goes up to the Topsham Ferry (also seasonal), and to the first bridge across the Exe at Countess Weir. Alternatively, you can catch a train or bus into Exeter and back to Exmouth. See Traveline for timetable information.

Turf/Topsham (River Exe)

Contact Steve Garrett on:

Phone: 07778 370582

Email: [email protected]


Ferry Service runs:

Weekends and Bank holidaysEaster until late May Bank Holiday and then mid September-30 September

From Topsham: 11:30, 12:15, 13:00 & 14:15.   

From Turf:  11:45, 12:30, 14:00 & 15:00

Every Day: Late May Bank Holiday - mid September, times as above

July and August weekends:

From Topsham: 13:40 and 15:15.   

From Turf:  13:15 & 16:00

Topsham Ferry (River Exe) 

The Topsham ferry runs between Topsham Quay riverside and Topsham Lock canalside. on. This service is tide dependent. 

Wave or phone for service. Between April and September, the ferry may be available outside these hours, weather and tides permitting. 

Contact Exeter City Council, Canals and Rivers Department

Phone: 07801 203338

More information can be found here. 

Ferry Service runs:

Easter-September daily (except Tuesdays) 9:30 to 17:30.

From October-Easter weekends and Bank Holidays 10:00 to 17:00.

Dawlish Warren to Exmouth (River Exe)

Exeplorer Water Taxi

Phone: 07970 918418.

More information can be found here

Although the official route of the Coast Path crosses the Exe at Starcross, between early April and the beginning of September you can save 3 miles of road walking by catching a water taxi from Dawlish Warren Point to Exmouth. To reach Dawlish Warren Point you pass through Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve, and so to avoid disturbance to nesting birds and other wildlife, please keep out of fenced areas and no dogs are allowed on the ferry or the eastern half of the Nature Reserve.

Ferry Service runs:

Daily between 1st April to 31st October.

Times vary between 07:20 and 20:00 throughout the year.


Weymouth Harbour

From 16th century, rowing ferries have taken passengers across Weymouth Harbour. Rowing boats operate from April across the harbour but are weather dependent.

Phone: 01305 838423

Email: [email protected]   

Or check the Weymouth Harbour website. 


Alternatively contact A1 Taxis on 07758 130281

Or if it is not running, you can cross using the bridge 100 metres upstream. 

South Haven point to Sandbanks, Poole

After finishing the path, most people continue across on the Sandbanks ferry into Bournemouth to pick up trains or buses home.

Phone: 01929 450203

Or find more on information on the Sandbanks Ferry website:

The Ferry Operates: Every 20 minutes from:

Ferry Service Runs:

Sandbanks: 07:00 to 23:00

Shell Bay: 07:10 to 23:10


Alternatively, contact A1 Taxis on 07758 130281

If you are relying on a ferry service we urge you to contact the ferry operator direct, particularly if you anticipate a fairly late finish and need to confirm the time of its last run.