Fast Facts about our Ferry Service

Faster Travelling

Travelling via Severn Link FlyingCat ferry from Ilfracombe to Swansea will be, on average, over four times quicker than travelling by car1 and over six and a half times quicker than by rail2.

Reduced Motorway Congestion

The Ilfracombe to Swansea Severn Link service alone has the potential to reduce road use by a potential 350,000 fewer car journeys per annum on the M5 / M4 motorways and connecting routes3 with even more potential as more routes come on stream.

Regular Service

Despite the close proximity of the two coasts and the need for many thousands of people in Wales and the South West of England to travel between the two areas, there has never been a regular modern ferry service operating in the Bristol Channel.

The Aust (or Beachley) Ferry was historically the only regular ferry service which connected Wales and the South West of England, although this operated much further east across the River Severn, with both destination villages actually situated in England. The Aust Ferry was believed to have been in operation since the 15th century, but made its last crossing in 1966 – the day before the Severn Bridge opened to the public.

Swift Speed

The Severn Link FlyingCat ferries travel at speeds of up to a swift yet comfortable 34 knots. That’s around 39 miles per hour, knocking spots off the world’s fastest aquatic mammal, the Dall Porpoise, which trails behind at 35 miles per hour. Even if the world’s fastest human, Usain Bolt, could run on water (we’re watching that space!) he can only hit the more moderate heights of a top speed of just over 27 miles per hour4.


The Swansea – Ilfracombe crossing is a distance of approximately 25 nautical miles, which equates to around 28.77 statute miles, and has recently been swum for the first time ever – by Welsh triathlete Gethin Jones on 13 September 2009, taking nearly 22 hours.


  1. Source: AA Route Planner,
  3. Based on road travel to nearest railway station to Ilfracombe (Barnstaple) and onwards via Exeter St Davids and Bristol Parkway. Source: AA Route Planner &
  5. Based on four journeys per day, seating 360 passengers per ferry and assuming a car passenger capacity of 1.5 people per vehicle.
  7. Based on his 100 metre world record of 9.58 seconds, broken into 10m splits. Source:


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