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Oarsome: Butley's historic ferry operates during the week for the first time in 120 years

PUBLISHED: 08:05 01 August 2013 | UPDATED: 08:05 01 August 2013

Volunteer Andrew McDonald runs the Butley Foot Ferry, which is now running during the week.

Volunteer Andrew McDonald runs the Butley Foot Ferry, which is now running during the week.

Archant

For the first time in more than a century visitors to popular beauty spots Butley and Orford can cross the river and save themselves a significant detour.

Volunteer Andrew McDonald runs the Butley Foot Ferry, which is now running during the week.Volunteer Andrew McDonald runs the Butley Foot Ferry, which is now running during the week.

The Butley ferry normally only operates at weekends or bank holidays between Easter and the end of September.

But thanks to volunteer oarsmen Andrew McDonald, a weekday service is being trialed for the first time in 120 years.

But if you want to hop on board you’ll have to be quick – the last day is tomorrow, Friday.

It is hoped that if enough people show interest the weekday service could once again become a regular feature.

The Butley Foot Ferry is now running during the week.The Butley Foot Ferry is now running during the week.

Mr McDonald, who lives in nearby Subourne and is one of 17 volunteer oarsmen, said: “It’s a fabulous way to spend a day. It’s great exercise and when the sun is shining there’s no better place to be. It’s beautiful.

“We have a seal who swims up to the ferry, someone has also spotted a couple of otters, while it’s also good for bird watching.”

The ferry – which takes walkers and cyclists between Butley and Orford saving them a few miles detour – was founded in the 16th Century. Up until the late 19th Century it operated daily, serving farm workers.

It is now sponsored by the Alde and Ore Association.

Simon Barrow, committee member responsible for the ferry, said: “Up until 120 years ago it was busy every day, transporting agricultural labourers. Who knows, this is a wonderful time of year and if the trial proves successful we might be able to run it more regularly.”

The ferry runs between 11am and 4pm. The cost is £2 per adult, £1.50 for bikes and £1 for children. For more information call 07913 672499.

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