A GROUP aiming to restore a ferry in Chepstow which used to carry people across the Severn Estuary before the bridges were opened has become a registered charity.

The Severn Princess Preservation Trust – set up in 2014 to restore the Severn Princess ferry with the intention to make it a major feature at the end of the Wales Coastal Path – say they are delighted with the news following a “painstaking process”.

The ferry was one of three – along with sister vessels the Severn King and the Severn Queen – which carried people and cars across the estuary between Beachley and Aust from 1931 until the first Severn Bridge was opened in 1966.

The ferry now sits beneath Chepstow Railway Bridge on the town’s riverbank, between two housing developments.


Group coordinator Tim Ryan, who has worked tirelessly over the last six years to get to this point, said: “This was a painstaking process but we feel it shows the relevant authorities believe our aim to cosmetically restore the boat is an achievable and worthwhile one.

South Wales Argus:

The pictures on the left show the boat before recent work, and the pictures on the right afterwards

“Where she currently rests is close to the end of the coastal path, and we believe she would be the perfect museum piece there.”

South Wales Argus:

Left to right: Richard Jones and Tim Ryan (Severn Princess Restoration Group), Jane Campion (Mabey Bridge), Cllr Ned Heyward (Severn Princess Restoration Group) and Steve Armstrong (Mabey Bridge)

The group, who regularly post nostalgic tales of the ferry on Facebook group Chepstow, A Great Place To Go, say their charity status has attracted “new and energetic” trustees, driving some “very pleasing physical work on the ferry”.

South Wales Argus:

A colour view of the Severn Princess ready to cross the estuary. Pic courtesy of Tim Ryan

“We have a program of work we would like to carry out before the winter fully breaks, including the removal of the decking timbers and the sealing of the metal deck to prevent deterioration,” Mr Ryan added.

“We hope to have a ferry-dedicated Facebook page and website up and running in the near future, and we have commissioned greeting cards from local artist Susie Grindey, which will be available at the Chepstow Tourist Information Centre shortly.”