Fleetwood to Knott End Ferry, sailing across the River Wyre

Cross the River on the Fleetwood to Knott End Ferry

The Wyre Rose is the Fleetwood to Knott End Ferry. It’s a well used transport link and a popular tourist attraction in one.

Sailing times are subject to weather and tidal conditions so you must consult their timetable before travelling.

Looking for something different to do? Why don’t you take a trip to Knott End and explore? Enjoy a brew and a bite to eat in a cafe, a stroll on the seafront, visit the Lowry statue before sailing back to Fleetwood.

Catch the ferry from its berth at Queen’s Terrace, to the right of the RNLI lifeboat station on The Esplanade. Enjoy the journey across the depths of the River Wyre channel, to the slipway at Knott End.

Times are posted every week on their own Facebook page.

Fleetwood to Knott End Ferry
Fleetwood to Knott End Ferry terminal at The Esplanade

Have a look around this part of Fleetwood seafront in this video, filmed during a heatwave!

YouTube video

Fleetwood to Knott End Ferry Service

The Fleetwood to Knott End ferry service has been in operation since 1841. It links the town of Fleetwood with the rural communities of Knott End, Pilling and Preesall.

Not just a vital form of transport between communities for local people, it’s well loved by tourists who use it to explore the area.

Crossing point of the Fleetwood to Knott End ferry
Crossing point of the Fleetwood to Knott End ferry

The ferry usually operates between 7.45am and 5.45pm as earliest/latest times. Sailings vary according to Winter and Summer. In winter it’s just at 45 minutes past the hour. But in summer they’re half hourly at 15 and 45 minutes past the hour from Fleetwood. Sailings from Knott End are approximately five minutes later. (Correct at time of publication, please check before travelling).

Please note: Anyone who is infirm, disabled or with wheelchairs, prams or cycles may struggle to access/egress the boat at Fleetwood ferry dock. Wherever possible the ferry crew will assist anyone who has difficulties. If in doubt, you are advised to speak to the ferry crew before embarking.

Quicker by sea

The ferry journey across the River Wyre takes less than 10 minutes.

By road it’s another matter. The 13.6 mile journey takes 26 minutes (not accounting for heavy traffic). You first head inland along the A585 to cross Shard Bridge and then travel through the country lanes Over Wyre to arrive at Knott End.

Mary Rose in her berth at the side of Fleetwood RNLI
Mary Rose in her berth at the side of Fleetwood RNLI

More about Fleetwood Ferry

Fleetwood to Knott End Ferry has been running for almost 200 years.

Fleetwood to Knott End Ferry began way back in 1841 with John Croft, a Knott End fisherman. For a small charge he would take people across the river to Fleetwood in his small ‘well-type’ boat. His families ferry service of 1841 replaced the ad-hoc sail and rowing boat transport of the previous centuries. Mainly for people, the ferry would also move sheep and other small livestock. Got a cow to take to move? Until 1928 cattle were tied to the stern and swam behind!

The council decided to run its own ferries in 1898, buying steamers Lune, Onward, Quail and Nymph. In 1901 ‘Bourne May’ joined the small fleet. A record 10,200 passengers used the ferry in just one day in 1905.

Annual Inspection

Each year, the Wyre Rose is taken out of the water for an annual inspection and maintenance. Here are some of their photos from the 2022 work –

Enjoyed finding out how Fleetwood Ferry to Knott End began? There’s more in Nick Moore’s History of Blackpool. Take a look at page 326.

Memories of the Ferry

Michael Peak got in touch with some of his recollections of the ferry. Michael says –

“I was brought up in Fleetwood in the 1960s. Our family used to live on Chatsworth Avenue. My grandad, Arthur Edward Peak, who lived at 172 Poulton Road was the ferry skipper, or boss there for many years. I’m not sure of the dates but he died in April 1972 from cancer, after a life at sea on many fishing boats.

“When he was the skipper of the ferry he had to get up with the tide… He said he never set his alarm clock but would always wake up when he needed to. Only once did he sleep in, and on that day there was an explosion on the ferry boat. Not sure if someone died from that incident, but I remember that being the story in our family.

Do you know any more about the history of Fleetwood Ferry?
If you do please get in touch. We’ll cite you as the source of any information and/or photos. Just email jane@theRabbitPatch.co.uk

“My dad (Ted Peak) was skipper for the Wandering Star angling boat in the mid 1970s. I can remember the hot summer of 1975 being out in Lune Deep’s. Flat sea, blue sky… and the sea on fire with sprats jumping to escape mackerel. We all caught far too much fish that day!

“One angler boarded the bus to get home to Blackpool with a bin liner full of fish. The bag split on the bus so he shared the fish with fellow passengers…😀”

Still Waters for Fleetwood Ferry after an uncertain future…

In Spring 2017 the Ferry faced a choppy future as it was expected that its funding would be cut and the service would no longer operate.

However, after the local elections in May 2017, the newly elected Lancashire County Council pledged to save the ferry. They gave it funding until November 2017 in the expectation that a new arrangement to secure its future would be negotiated. The new contract with Wyre Council and Lancashire County Council secures its future until 2026.

In January 2018, Wyre Council announced that the ferry will continue operating under a new contract and operator. A full procurement process had taken place, with satisfactory bids received. Wyre Council and Lancashire County Council working with Wyre Marine Services (who had successfully operated the ferry for over 11 years) continue to operate the service to enable residents to travel across the Wyre Estuary.

The eight year contract offers a year round, seven day a week service, similar to the previous service.

Funding for the Fleetwood to Knott End Ferry

Lancashire County Council agreed to contribute to the running of the ferry service on a 50:50 basis with Wyre Council for four years. It’s hoped the ferry will then be self-sustaining.

In addition, they’ll provide the ferry to the successful operator under a mortgage arrangement. The vessel will become the responsibility of the operator and its ownership transfers to them in full at the end of the eight year contract period.

Fleetwood Ferry arriving at Knott End slipway, see Fleetwood Lower Lighthouse across the river
Fleetwood Ferry arriving at Knott End slipway, see Fleetwood Lower Lighthouse across the river
Fleetwood Ferry crossing the River Wyre to Knott End
Fleetwood Ferry crossing the River Wyre to Knott End

While you’re here…

Have a look at the homepage of the Visit Fleetwood website for more of the latest updates.

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3 thoughts on “Cross the River on the Fleetwood to Knott End Ferry”

  1. William Peter Coxall

    My mum’s Grandfather Thomas Newton Croft was the first ferry manager, once the council took the ferry over.

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