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Crossing the rivers of the South West Coast Path – Part 1

4 mins read     22 December 2020

There are at least 17 rivers that require some sort of planning when walking the South West Coast Path.  Here’s our handy guide to each river and how to cross it.  This article covers the 8 Rivers of  Somerset, North Devon and Cornwall.

Click here for Part 2 South Devon & Dorset

Gillan Creek, Cornwall

THE RIVER CROSSINGS OF THE SOUTH WEST COAST PATH –
PART 1 SOMERSET, NORTH DEVON & CORNWALL

River Torridge, North Devon

Location: Between Instow and Appledore.
Ferry required?: This crossing is optional.  Using the ferry will reduce your walking by approximately 6 miles.  Most walkers choose to walk along the river to Bideford and cross using the bridge.
Operated by: Appledore Ferries.  See Facebook for daily updates and here for an advanced timetable.
Dates: 1st April to 31st October.
Times: Vary depending upon tide.  Check the timetable above.
Alternative options: Walk around the river or use the Instow to Appledore bus.

River Camel, North Cornwall

Location: Between Rock & Padstow.
Ferry required?: Yes, you will need to use the ferry to cross the River Camel.
Operated by: Black Tor Ferries.  Check here for timetable.
Dates: Operates all year.
Times: See timetable above.
Alternative option: A private water taxi may be available.

River Gannel, North Devon

Location: Between Newquay & Crantock.
Ferry required?: Sometimes.  The ferry operates from Fern Pit Cafe 3 hours either side of high time.  3 hours either side of low tide, a footbridge is available at this location.
Operated by: Fern Pit Cafe.  See Facebook for up to date information.
Dates: The ferry operates from the end of May until Mid September.
Times: 9.30am-6.00pm
Alternative options:  If the tide is higer than the footbridge and the ferry is not operating, then there are 2 other bridges available further up the river.  Penpol Bridge (+1 mile) & Trenance Bridge (+2.5 miles).

Gillan Creek, South Cornwall

Location: Between Gillan & St Anthony
Ferry required?: It’s not essential.  The ferry operates 3 hours either side of high tide.  3 hours either side of low tide, the stepping stones will be visible.  If using the stepping stones, please be careful.
Operated by: Sailaways, St Anthony.  Click here for more information.
Dates: 1st April to 31st October.
Times: “Normal working hours”.  Check the website for more detail.
Alternative option: There is an additional 1 mile walk around the creek, although you will miss walking part of the creek as you walk inland along roads.

St Mawes Ferry

Helford River, South Cornwall

Location: Between Helford Village and Helford Passage
Ferry required?: Yes.
Operated by: Helford River Boats.  Click here for more information.  Their Facebook page provides daily sailing information.
Dates: 1st April to 31st October.
Times: 09.30am – 5.00pm.  In the peak summer months the ferry may run into the evening.
Alternative option: If the ferry is not operating, the only option is a very expensive taxi around the river.

River Fal, South Cornwall

Location: Between Falmouth & St Mawes / St Mawes & Place
Ferry required?: Yes.
Operated by: Fal River.
Dates: The ferry between Falmouth and St Mawes operates all year round.  The ferry between St Mawes and Place operates April to October.
Times: Please see timetables.  (Falmouth to St Mawes / St Mawes to Place)
Alternative option: A water taxi may operate.

River Fowey, South Cornwall

Location: Between Fowey & Polruan
Ferry required?: Yes
Operated by: C. Toms & Son Ltd.
Dates: Operates all year
Times: Vary depending on time of year.  Click here for timetable.
Alternative option: A taxi around the river

River Tamar, South Cornwall & South Devon Border

Location: Between Cremyll & Stonehouse, Plymouth
Ferry required?: Yes
Operated by: Plymouth Boat Trips
Dates: Operates all year
Times: vary depending on time of year.  Click here for more information.
Alternative option: Further up the River Tamar, there is the Torpoint ferry.

We try to keep this information up to date, so if you do spot a mistake please let us know so we can update it for your fellow walkers.

To view Crossing the rivers of the South West Coast Path – Part 2, please click here.