I don’t think that I’ve been on a chain ferry before, even though there is apparently one at Reedham. This service runs between East Cowes and West Cowes, with the journey time being just a couple of minutes.
The information board showing the current list of charges to cross the River Medina on the ferry. There’s a ticket machine to buy tickets, although there’s also a ticket inspector who can sell tickets and they accept cash or cards. There’s no option to buy just a single ticket, as they’re sold as returns.
The ferry after all of the cars and pedestrians had crossed. We got on at this point to travel from East Cowes to West Cowes. There was a rowing boat service offered between the two towns from the early eighteenth century until 1859, when a steamboat service was introduced.
The current chain ferry is the sixth one to ply the waters, with the fifth one being withdrawn from service in January 2017 after forty years of service. The new ferry operates from around 05:00 until just after 00:00 and it carries around 1.5 million pedestrians per year and around 400,000 vehicles.
Looking at a newspaper article from 1930 there were 1.4 million pedestrian crossings, so the number of people needing to use the service hasn’t changed. As there are no other crossings over the River Medina, the alternative is to go down via Newport, which adds around thirty minutes to a car journey.
There’s a pedestrian area on two levels as well as the facility to carry twenty cars. There’s some seating available, although since the journey is so short, there are no other facilities.
The ferry landing in West Cowes. We took this ferry as part of our coastal walk around the Isle of Wight, so it presented an interesting and intriguing way to end our walk back into West Cowes from where we had started.