A boatload of exciting possibilities are set to steam over the horizon into Ilfracombe with the arrival of the new Severn Link ferry service to Swansea next year. That was the message from ferry mastermind Chris Marrow at a presentation to Ilfracombe busi

A boatload of exciting possibilities are set to steam over the horizon into Ilfracombe with the arrival of the new Severn Link ferry service to Swansea next year.

That was the message from ferry mastermind Chris Marrow at a presentation to Ilfracombe business, tourism and community representatives.

The benefits from the first "modern" ferry service to come to the Bristol Channel would be many and varied, he said and he had a raft of new details to tell his eager listeners.

The passenger service would put North Devon within 50 minutes of a region with a population of 1.5 million, opening up endless holiday possibilities, from day trips and short breaks to twin centre and specialist holidays covering everything from the Gower peninsula to Pembrokeshire and West Wales.

"That gives us a massive edge and they can't offer you that in places like Torquay," he said.

"As a general rule it will cost £20-25 return and there will be special offers too - for example £50 would buy you a ferry ticket and a car hire for the day.

"The timetable will see a morning service and early evening one and as the season progresses there will be up to four sailings per day. In the winter it would obviously be reduced but at the moment we are considering a Friday to Monday service. There will also be a small parcel and courier service, too."

The new Swansea to Cork ferry service is set to begin at roughly the same time and Mr Marrow said it was hoped to link in with that, enabling passengers to purchase a through ticket to Ireland from Ilfracombe and opening up the region to Irish tourists.

"Who knows? If we can get a car ferry going, in the summer months we might be able to run a ferry to Cork straight from Ilfracombe," he added.

He said the two Fastcat vessels being purchased from WightLink had now finished their operations between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight and were soon to be decked out in their new Severn Link colours.