Family relaunches 'relaxing' ferry trips along River Blyth on Suffolk coast

The Church family have restarted their Walberswick Boat Trip business

The Church family have restarted their Walberswick River Trips business - Credit: Walberswick River Trips

A family with decades of boating experience have restarted their tour business on the River Blyth near Southwold.

Walberswick River Trips will be starting back up on April 9 with their boats Day Breeze and Seafever, which can take groups of up to 12 people up the river.

It is run by the Church family, whose relatives have been involved in ferrying people across the river since the Victorian period.

They have managed the Walberswick-Southwold ferry since 1942. 

Dani got her boatmasters license 24 years ago when she was 25

Dani got her boatmasters' licence 24 years ago when she was 25 - Credit: Walberswick River Trips

Dani Church, one of the captains, said: "It's always been a family business. I've been doing river trips on and off since I was 25.

"I got my boatmasters' licence at 24 when I was helping my dad on the ferry. He then set me up doing river trips."

Sisters Polly and Dani Church have restarted their families river trip business

The River Trips business was restarted when sister Polly (right) decided she wanted to get involved with the ferry - Credit: Walberswick River Trips

She continued: "Last year, my sister decided that she wanted to join us helping out on the ferry.

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"Because there are quite a few of us involved now, we decided to resurrect the river trip business, this time with a website and online booking."

Trips last about an hour, have a maximum capacity of 12 people and cost £16 for an adult or £12 for children. 

Ms Church added: "We do an hour's trip down the Blyth estuary. We cater to anybody from toddlers to old age pensioners — the boat is not fast, we go at a steady pace for a calm ride and a gentle relaxing trip. 

"A lot of people come for the bird watching, bring binoculars and that sort of thing. Sometimes people see something rare, but I don't want to name anything specific because I don't want people to be disappointed.

Walberswick River Trips crew (LR) John Lummis, Polly Church, Dani Church, and Jule Church

Walberswick River Trips crew (L-R) John Lummis, Polly Church, Dani Church, and Jule Church - Credit: Walberswick River Trips

"My mum and John do a fun local history talk with scavenger tales and stories of the Black Shuck, as well as talking about the war, and the fishing industry.

"It used to be massive and now it is almost completely gone."

"We also do a lot of school trips, including with kids from the inner city. For a lot of them, it is their first time out of London, in a boat or seeing the sea. 

"If one kid comes out and is inspired, that makes it all worth it."