Places to Visit / Locations

Aust Ferry

  • The old Aust ferry Severn Princess restoration boat
    Photo credit: Tim Ryan
  • Barry Feinstein: Bob Dylan 1966 tour, Aust Ferry Terminal, Bristol
    Copyright Barry Feinstein
  • Photo credit: John Thorn

For many hundreds of years before the bridges, the ferry from Aust to Beachley was an important crossing point of the River Severn. The place name remains captured by a few old road signs across the area but the once bustling Aust Ferry terminal is now ramshackle and overgrown. The site is now a quiet and forgotten place, peaceful in its proximity to the river and a great spot for quiet reflection or to see birds.

The ferry looked quite different when Bob Dylan was photographed here during his tour of the UK in 1966 just before the ferry closed. In the background of the photograph (used on promotional material for No Direction Home, a film about Dylan’s life produced and directed by Martin Scorcese) you can see the nearly completed first Severn Bridge that would soon replace the ferry service.

Read more about the history of crossing the River Severn here.

The history of the area and its ferries is being preserved by the Severn Princess Restoration Group, a group of enthusiasts restoring the last remaining Severn Princess car ferry. The group talks about the ferries and you can even visit the last remaining Severn Princess, by arrangement.

Did You Know?

The writer of Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe, visited Aust Ferry in the 18th Century but decided not to make the crossing there because it was so dangerous.

“When we came to Aust, the hither side of the Passage, the sea was so broad, the fame of the Bore of the tide so formidable, the wind also made the water so rough, and which was worse, the boats to carry over both man and horse appear’d (as I have said above) so very mean, that in short none of us car’d to venture: So we came back, and resolv’d to keep on the road to Gloucester.”

  1. Peter 10 months ago

    I have just viewed a programme about Britain at low tide which featured the Aust ferry. At the age of 15 years in 1959, as a Londener, my school pal and I cycled from London to Chepstow then via Ludlow to Carhampton , Somerset crossing the Severn via the Ferry, all in five days. This programme has rekindled my memory of our ‘epic’ journey as school boys, never to be repeated now I think! I have know idea of which boat transported the two of us, or our bikes, on our trip.

  2. Emma Cross 10 months ago

    That sounds like quite an adventure Peter!

  3. Clive Buckler 10 months ago

    I also watched Britain and low tide and it reminded me back in the early seventies I picked up a coin collection box from the ferry building. I am trying to contact Tim Ryan to see if he is interested in it. Can anyone help?

    • Katie Scaife 9 months ago

      Hi Clive,

      Good to talk to you on the phone. Hope you get in touch with Tim!


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