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Ferry is on course for Sutton Hoo

PUBLISHED: 21:07 13 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:21 03 March 2010

VISITORS to one of Suffolk's major new attractions could soon be able to visit it by boat.

The £5million visitor centre to Sutton Hoo, one of Britain's most important archaeological sites is due to open in March.

VISITORS to one of Suffolk's major new attractions could soon be able to visit it by boat.

The £5million visitor centre to Sutton Hoo, one of Britain's most important archaeological sites is due to open in March.

Now, the National Trust has applied to revive an ancient ferry crossing from Woodbridge Tide Mill to Sutton Hoo.

However this is not the first time the plans have come under the spotlight and have been discussed several times during the past few years.

Until the Second World War the ferry had been in use for hundreds of years, but ended due to competition from buses.

Four years ago the National Trust discussed plans to revive the ferry to relive the road network in the area.

Up to 50,000 people are expected to visit the site every year.

With RAF Bentwaters housing estate as well as the major military training centre at RAF Woodbridge there were concerns whether the roads could cope with the influx of traffic.

With that many people visiting the Anglo-Saxon burial site, the tourist industry in Woodbridge could be in line for a huge tourist boom if the ferry is given the go-ahead.

Although the plans still have to be approved by Suffolk Coastal, members of the Woodbridge Town Council planning committee were unanimous in their backing of the proposal.

It is hoped that when the ferry cannot run, then a minibus would be available to replace it.

Councillor Fred Reynolds said: "I hope we don't see this just as a way for people to visit the National Trust site.

"I like to think that people coming to Woodbridge will take an excursion to Sutton Hoo and then come back and have a look around the town."

If given the go-ahead the ferry would be just a small part of plans already under discussion to revamp the quay and bring it back to its original use of an active sailing harbour.

In October the Management Committee, which looks after the ancient Tide Mill unveiled plans for improvement such as stabilising the quay and dredging the river to provide short term moorings.

It is hoped this would enable people to moor over night or for several days.

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