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Ship Canal Ferry
Topic posted by Rod ... dated:08 September 2002
Does anybody know whether the passenger ferry service near the Davyhulme Millennium Nature Reserve is still operational? The 'rowing boats' are still there, but there is no timetable or anything on the port-a-cabin suggesting that the service still runs.
Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Aardvark ... dated:12 June 2021

The new timetable for the ferry is now available at Note that there are odd dates when it may not run (because they can't get the staff apparently). In particular, 23rd, 24th, 25th and 26th July.

Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Aardvark ... dated:12 April 2021

According to the operators, the ferry is due to resume service on Friday 30th April. However, there has again been extensive vandalism to the landing stage on the Irlam bank (it looks like all the steel fencing and railings have been stolen). Once the ferry does get going again, it will operate on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays until 6th September, then on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until the end of October.

Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Aardvark ... dated:28 September 2020

Finally made it across to the Irlam bank yesterday. The repair work was to the landing stage on that bank.

The ferryman gave us a brief cruise, heading downstream towards Irlam Locks and some swans' nests before turning back to the Irlam landing stage.

On arrival there are effectively three paths you can take and we explored all three. Straight on takes you to what was the club house for Boysnope Park Golf Club. This closed in 2018 but the club house has re-opened as "The Clubhouse", a cafe, bar and restaurant. At the moment it's only open in the daytime, and not at all on Mondays, but it's a nice place to get anything from a meal to a cup of tea. The A57 runs past The Clubhouse.

The left path takes you over a concrete bridge which used to carry the Ship Canal Railway line over the inlet to Boysnope Wharf. From there you can continue through woodland and past the Irlam recycling centre before meeting the A57. You can probably go right through to Irlam Locks, but we didn't.

The right path takes you through much thicker woodland and brambles before you reach a flooded bit where a stream seems to cross the path. From there it should be possible to reach a farm track leading up to the A57 and Barton Airfield. But we turned back.

The ferryman told us that he is planning to sell tea, coffee and snacks at the Davyhulme landing stage, not just catering for ferry passengers but also for anyone visiting the Millennium Nature Reserve.

Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Aardvark ... dated:21 September 2020

I've asked for times and days of operation. They are: "every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 12pm till 5pm." The ferry will close down for the winter but they haven't yet decided when "winter" begins. I suppose we'll know if the Canal freezes over....

Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Ivor ... dated:19 September 2020

The ferry is now operating.Used it this afternoon from davyhulme to irlam and return with a bike.

Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Aardvark ... dated:01 September 2020

Another flurry of e-mails to/from Bilway:

"Thank you for your enquiry, there has been a delay in the Ferry resuming service due to maintenance work running over.

"Unfortunately during lockdown the ferry and its jetty had been subject to vandalism, this resulted in it being unsafe for the general public.

"The public’s safety is our absolute priority and we aim to ensure all works are carried out and completed in the next few weeks."

(So just in time for the winter shutdown...)

Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Aardvark ... dated:30 August 2020

Despite my optimistic posts, the ferry is Still Not Operating. The tale is that "Peel were not happy with the work carried out on the berth and have now put the opening date back".

Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Aardvark ... dated:21 August 2020

Saturday 22nd, I should have said.

Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Aardvark ... dated:21 August 2020

The ferry is re-opening tomorrow (Saturday 21st), according to Bilway. I may yet get to try it myself, if the weather's fit.

Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Aardvark ... dated:15 August 2020

That was my experience too when I visited a couple of weeks ago. All I can suggest is that you contact Bilway: Or Peel. Bilway just operate the ferry when Peel tell them to.

Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Norman ... dated:15 August 2020

Following the recent heavy rain, the approach to Hulmes Ferry was washed out. It has now been repaired with a tarmac path edged with concrete stones, but if you go down to the ferry itself, it has a big steel padlocked gate preventing access. Googling only shows information at least a year out of date. Does anybody know anything about it? It seems a bit daft to go to all that trouble and then not publicise details of when it operates, if it does at all.

There is simply no information, so you couldn't just turn up and rely on it being operational. It is about as useful as a chocolate teapot as things stand. Hopefully, someone will be able to throw some light on this.

Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Aardvark ... dated:13 August 2020

An update to the update:

"Just an update on Hulmes Ferry. It looks like Peel are not going to complete the necessary work that is need to re-open until next week so we have been told not to reopen the Ferry until next Saturday 22nd August. Sorry for any inconvenience but its out of our hands."

(from Bilsway, the operators)

Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Aardvark ... dated:08 August 2020

Update: the ferry is not currently operating but the people who run it, Bilway Ltd, tell me it will start up again on Saturday 15th August.

Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Port ... dated:12 May 2016

Hi All

Just a quick note to say the Ferry is running again, Fri - Mon 1200 - 1730. It's seen a great uptake in the last couple of weekends but this is a FREE service so do please come on round and take a more leisurely trip across the canal than battling the M60 High level bridge!

More info here:

AND, we can now take push bikes across! (at the discretion of the ferry person)
Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Skopelos ... dated:15 April 2016 Is an interesting fount of information.
Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Port ... dated:14 April 2016

Just a heads up on the Ferry restarting, dates & times as below. Remember, this is a free service, use it or lose it! 

Now with a larger vessel to carry more passegers and bicycles as well. 

29th april till the 12th September
Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon. 12:00 – 5:30pm

16th September till the
6th NovemberFri, Sat, Sun. 12:00 – 4:00pm 

NOTE: Ferry maybe cancelled subject to weather and flood water.07518 083 829 Hulmes Ferry
Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Wozza ... dated:01 December 2015

They may need a bigger boat when ikea opens. All those flat packs. 

Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Port ... dated:30 November 2015

Just pitching this subject up again. The ferry has finished for the 2015 season but will restart again at the end of April 2016.

Probably due to the lack of publicity, many people do not know this service still exists, especially at this time of year when it does not run, people often assume it has closed altogether.
With support, this could be an excellent route for walks and even people visiting Salford Reds / AJ Bell Stadium or visting friends in Irlam & Cadishead. Or vice versa for those on the other side of the cut!

It is hoped it will return with a bigger vessel next year, more suitable to the needs and able to carry more passengers.

We have started some online social media sites in the hope of gaining support & publicity, please do take the time to have a look and share them:

This service is provided by an article in the Manchester Ship Canal Act, basically, the Manchester Ship Canal Company have to provide this ferry in lieu of the bridge that used to be there.

However, with a decline in use comes the decline in services, With the lack of publicity come the decline in use.
Catch 22!

But this service could be so much more with a little support and some publicity. When the season re-starts in April, please think about having a walk round the Millenium Nature reserve at Davyhulme and a trip across the canal. It's FREE! So why not?
And it can give a very different perspective on the canal.

Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by FerryPerson ... dated:24 July 2015

Just to let everyone know the free hulmes bridge ferry service is still running and now has its own website -

Due to lack of publicity in the past, lots of people still do not realize that its there or due to intermitent service do not realize it has restarted and is ongoing.  Lack of publicity has lead to low numbers using the service it has been reduced to seasonal/part time/weekend operation which doesn't really adequatelly replace a footbridge.

However it is still running and is picking up. I made 130+ crossings during the Manchester Airshow day with more publicity in the pipeline I am hoping more will use it so we can provide a bigger, better service.

Taking up the point of the boat being too small and unstable. The ship canal company has already noted this but as yet have not supplied a larger boat. A larger boat will be essential in the future and for events such as the airshow where the dingy barely coped with the large volume of people.

The Ferry service is also now featured on independant twitter and facebook accounts.

All ferry crossings are logged to provide feedback of the demand to the Manchester Ship Canal Company so the more people use it the better.

Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Irlamnow ... dated:02 July 2012
I too used it a couple of weeks ago from the Irlam side. I had to get the council to clear the path that had corrugated sheet metal blocking the way,next to the scrap yard and the path was rubbish. It was a nice day when I set out but was throwing it down by the time I got to the ferry. The young ferryman must have been cursing to have to come out in the rain. I had my bike too so had to balance it getting across and I sheltered in a hut till the rain died down on the opposite side. I took photos and pasted a picture story on my fb page ' Irlam and Cadishead Community now and then'. I don't thing Peel or the ship canal co have any interest in it at all. That lady June was from the ramblers association I think because I saw a news story in the Messenger and on Salford Online.
Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Boblet ... dated:28 June 2012
If/when Port Salford gets built opposite the Millennium Nature Reserve, I imagine there being more demand for a ferry here.
Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Divad ... dated:28 June 2012
I took this trip while over last week, it is not worth the effort. Sure it is nice to be able to keep the tradition alive but once you reach the Irlam side there is nothing but jungle. The boat itself is too small and dangerous to board, anyone who cannot climb down the three steps and has some agility is in trouble. Unless there are radical changes the ferry will close after this summer. The cottage there is now boarded up and the grounds in disarray presenting a total disappointment to any who had visions of the past being revisited.
Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Irlamnow ... dated:28 June 2012
This ferry is running Thursday to Monday noon to 5:30pm until 21st Sept when it is noon to 4pm until Nov 2012 and they are using a small boat with motor at the moment.
Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Ed ... dated:19 October 2011
On 10th Nov 2010 I posted on this topic after a phone conversation with someone from the Ship Canal Company.I've just received an email from someone called June Mabon. This is what it says.
To everyone who is interested in how the Hulme’s Bridge Ferry is progressing. The free Ferry operates between the Boynope wharf and the landing stage in Flixton near the Davyhulme Millennium Nature Reserve. The company that operates the ferry is now using the large, easy to get onto and off ferry on scheduled weekdays and at weekend days. The small, two passenger boat is no longer being used.

Salford Council’s Rights of Way department is working on ways to get the footpaths that lead to and from the ferry at Boysnope Wharf restored to good order with proper signs and waymarkings  and in getting the unauthorised diversion of the footpath that leads to the new Salford Stadium sorted out and at least put on an official, monitor-able basis.

The new owner of the scrap yard near the Boysnope Wharf,(scrap yard is now called a Metals Reprocessing Works) is very helpful and willing to help with improving the condition of the footpath that runs at the side of his fencing.  That fencing is being replaced even as i type and also security lighting installed in a manner that will illuminate the footpath a bit. All very helpful and much appreciated. On the Flixton side, the public path leading to the ferry has been waymarked by Trafford Council near the old ferryman’s cottage.

If you can encourage use of the ferry during October please do so – a decision as to whether to operate the ferry throughout the winter will be taken based on October passenger numbers. Every journey counts!

Ferry hours in October are:

Fridays 10:00 – 12:00 and 13:00 – 15:00

Saturdays  10:00 – 12:30 and 13:30 – 16:00.

in November

Fridays 10:00 – 12:00 and 13:00 – 15:00

Please forward this email as widely as you can.

Kind regards,

June Mabon
Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Divad ... dated:17 October 2011
The Ship Canal Company, including Peel, may have a duty to provide a crossing but surely this has be to a mutual benefit in todays world. A bridge would cost too much and the ferry, expected to be free, has a cost. This will result in the public paying for it through other means at the holders disposal. An item bought this week will cost you that % more next week if they have to recoup any loss on a free trip across the canal.
Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Tom ... dated:16 October 2011
In truth the financing of this crossing is a matter for Peel.  The Ship Canal remains profitable, and its owners have a statutory duty to provide a means for people to cross.
If they don't want to provide that crossing, fair enough, but they should consider building a high level footbridge to replace it. 
Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Divad ... dated:14 October 2011
The financing of the project is a problem and should be considered from all angles. Its not like it was with one man and rowing boat that didn't cost a lot. The ferry must be worthwhile but not necessarily profit making and that will take some investment from somewhere. If it involves a single ferryman he should be compensated but I would also guess there are some other items such as maintenance, and insurance, that have to be paid for. Free fun can be expensive.
Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by JohnH ... dated:14 October 2011
The Advertiser has an unemployed man dissing the ferry service and he's reported as saying: "I'll take the helm of the ferry service". The Ramblers Association backs him, verbally, but the born-again ferryman - he worked on the ferry for 10 years - needs "some kind of financial gesture".
Peel say "they will discuss the offer with the company that runs the service".
Re: Ship Canal Ferry
Reply posted by Divad ... dated:14 October 2011
The Salford News reported in a September edition that the ferry cottage project has been denied due to access problems. It looks like the houses suggested for the site will not be going ahead if this is confirmed.
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