Moving on to Wales, the first and most obvious choice is the town of Briton Ferry in Port Talbot. Called Llansawel in the native Welsh, the now-defunct ferry crossed where the River Neath enters Swansea Bay and is thought is have been part of the ancient Roman road that once followed the coastline of South Wales.

In North Wales where the River Mawddach spills out of the mountains into the sea at Barmouth, the ferry still runs across the river, the five minute trip connecting the town with the rail terminal of the Fairbourne Railway, though not in the winter months.

In west Wales in the town of Aberaeron, a chain ferry called the Aeron Express moved people, a few at a time, across the harbour. Originally intended as a way to move workers around the turn of the 20th century, the ferry stopped running before world War One. It was re-installed as a tourist attraction by the owner of a local railway in 1987 and continued to run until 1994. It ran from Easter to October, carrying four adults at a time. It’s said it was more of a sight to watch the lone winder work the wheel to pull the ferry and its occupants across the water than to take the trip itself. Each year, the entire ferry, chain and all, was dismantled and stored away for the next year.

That last example might be more symbolic of the smaller and local ferry industry in Wales and indeed across the UK than you think. Many of the smaller chain ferries do accomplish some local good for commuters, but more people come to see and use them as a holiday treat than as their daily routine. On the other hand, the ferries in the larger cities do act as a vital part of the transportation network, moving enormous numbers of people in and out of the city environs.