Meander tiny inlets and creeks
Ferry journeys need not get you from A to B either, they can offer a new perspective of a coast you have only enjoyed on dry land.
After exploring the wildlife and cliffs at Bempton in east Yorkshire, you can sit back on the Yorkshire Belle which trundles along the coast from nearby Bridlington daily from Easter to October.
Among the most delightful of all such journeys is the Kingsbridge ferry in South Devon, which explores the creeks, nooks and crannies of the Kingsbridge Estuary, and passing the town of Salcombe.
Along the way, expect to see herons and egrets perched like statues against a backdrop of pretty woodlands. The coastal fields are so steep you wonder how farmers can possibly drive their tractors from the bottom to the top.
You will look in vain, however, for any rivers flowing into this estuary. This is because there aren’t any: strictly speaking, the Kingsbridge ‘estuary’ isn’t an estuary but a ria, or drowned valley.
The crescendo of this trip sees your vessel, the Rivermaid, nudge out underneath the glowering headland of Bolt Head into the open sea. If the water is calm enough, the captain may take you a couple of kilometres along the coast before turning tail and heading for home.
If you fancy a shorter trip in the South Hams, consider the tiny East Portlemouth ferry, which, year-round, nudges back and forth for the kilometre that separates the steps of Salcombe pier from the peninsula of East Portlemouth (a distance of 25km or 40 minutes by car). You are crammed in tight with fellow passengers as the open-topped clinker-built motorboat navigates the crossing, easing its way around yachts and windsurfers.
Once on shore, you can explore the coastal path that runs anti-clockwise from the pier before returning to enjoy a hot drink and pasty at the café over-looking the ‘estuary’.
By Mark Rowe