Aust Ferry Improvements 2019

Aust Ferry – a history

Before the first Severn Bridge was built, boats and ferries had routinely traversed the Estuary between Aust and Beachley for centuries and at that point it was the quickest and most direct way of crossing between Wales and the West Country. In the 19th Century, the increased use of railways initially forced the closure of the passenger ferry but the business re-opened as a car ferry in 1926 in response to a boom in motor traffic.

The construction of the Severn Bridge, which opened in September 1966, led to the inevitable closure of the ferry but use of the service remains an indelible memory for many people locally or across the wider regions of Bristol and South Wales.

In a famous image used by Martin Scorsese in his documentary No Direction Home, Bob Dylan was photographed by Barry Feinstein waiting at the Aust ferry terminal in May 1966 en route to Cardiff after playing a gig the previous night at Bristol’s Colston Hall - a UK tour which marked a watershed in modern music as he controversially moved from folk to rock.

Aust Ferry today

Over time the buildings at the ferry terminal have slowly disappeared; the café and ticket office are long gone and all that is there today are the breeze block walls of the old toilet block which are in a perilous state. There is also asbestos on site. The stone jetty remains, albeit covered in vegetation, but the wooden causeway leading to the river’s edge is rotten and disintegrating in places. Some years back the site was fenced for safety reasons but the fence has been breached and the interesting history of the place is clearly attracting a number of visitors.

Aust Ferry Improvements


As a result of the public engagement for the Aust Ferry Improvements we learnt that 92% of the respondents were in favour of the work proposed. However there were some concerns raised about the design of the site and in response to this we have made the following changes:

  • The line of the new fencing will be altered to follow the edge of the stone jetty with a smaller open area for the interpretation boards. This will reduce the risk of the open space being used for anti-social behaviour and will also allow the natural vegetation to re-colonise the area outside the fenceline.
  • Bollards will be placed at the entrance to the stone jetty to ensure that the access is pedestrian only and that vehicles do not drive onto the jetty.

More interpretation about the Aust ferry is also being considered to complement the existing interpretation. This will be subject to funding.


  • Opened
    28 May 2019 at 00:00
  • Closed
    9 Jul 2019 at 23:59
  • Response Published
    19 Jul 2019


Consultation Topic
  • Environment
Geographical area
  • Bitton and Oldland Common
  • Boyd Valley
  • Bradley Stoke North
  • Bradley Stoke South
  • Charfield
  • Charlton and Cribbs
  • Chipping Sodbury and Cotswold Edge
  • Dodington
  • Emersons Green
  • Filton
  • Frampton Cotterell
  • Frenchay and Downend
  • Hanham
  • Kingswood
  • Longwell Green
  • New Cheltenham
  • Parkwall and Warmley
  • Stoke Park and Cheswick
  • Patchway Coniston
  • Pilning and Severn Beach
  • Thornbury
  • Severn Vale
  • Staple Hill and Mangotsfield
  • Stoke Gifford
  • Winterbourne
  • Woodstock
  • Yate Central
  • Yate North
Marking a consultation as relevant to a particular audience indicates that it may be of special relevance to people within that group. It doesn't, however, mean that other groups wont find the consultation of interest - we welcome responses from everybody.
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Target Audience
  • All residents