Aust to Beachley

Until 1966, South Wales was actually quite isolated from the nearby parts of south-west England and, in fact, from London. To get there you had a number of options. You could take the train, which ran in a tunnel beneath the Severn estuary (and still does today); you could drive through Gloucester, which was the southernmost road crossing of the river; you could load your car onto a train at Bristol and have it taken through the tunnel; or, if you were really determined (and lived locally enough for none of the other choices to be worthwhile), you could take your car down to the shore and load it onto the ferry.

The old car ferry between Aust and Beachley was old and slow, carrying about six cars or light vans at any one time and connecting the isolated village of Beachley, on a hard-to-reach peninsula between the Wye and Severn, to Aust, a tiny gathering of houses some miles from civilisation along a narrow B-road.

The ferry closed in 1966 when the M4 Severn Bridge (now M48) opened to traffic, but is not forgotten — having featured on a Bob Dylan album cover among much else — and the remains of its two terminals can still be seen today.

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