Three strange river crossings

Over the Manchester Ship Canal, you'll find the Hulmes Ferry, the Thelwall Ferry, and the Warburton Toll Bridge. They're all strange in their own way, all under the control of one company, and all dating back to old laws and legal documents from a hundred years ago. I was in the area, so I stopped by, and found that things might be changing soon.

Manchester Ship Canal Act (1885)
Rixton and Warburton Bridge Act (1863)
(NOTE: it looks like permission for the toll bridge was set up by the 1863 Act, but that was a different bridge over the River Mersey, and the laws and permissions were transferred over to the Ship Canal when they needed a bigger bridge and it is a complete mess of legal wrangling. As it doesn't affect the final story, I quietly elided that whole section because it was far too dull!)

Other references:

Inflation calculator:

And thanks in particular to Stuart at the Hulmes Ferry for friendly conversation when I arrived!

I'm at
on Twitter at tomscott
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and on Instagram as tomscottgo


  1. Tom Scott

    Tom Scott

    20 dögum síðan

    As always, the references I used for the video are in the description! I'm worried that I've messed up some minor point of law - and I did gloss over some nuance, you can see that in the description - but I'm as sure as I can be.



      6 dögum síðan

      Can you tell us why u wear same maroon tshirt for so long? I mean your last video I saw was "Can you remove fingerprint from pineapple" and I was quite amazed that u were wearing the same marron t-shirt that u have in this video.

    • SixOThree


      7 dögum síðan

      @J J His respect for information and correctness is admirable. The world is a better place with Tom Scott in it. At least my world is a better place with Tom Scott ISboths videos in it. Even short simple videos like this one.

    • Mike


      9 dögum síðan


    • Sam K

      Sam K

      10 dögum síðan

      @Chris C @Tom Scott I do believe that what Chris said about the bridge across the original course of the river is correct.

    • elbob086


      10 dögum síðan

      Good old warbi Bridge never seen a single bit of maintenance going there

  2. 61Ldf


    13 klukkustundum síðan

    In Germany in 1895 the Kiel Canal connecting Baltic sea and North Sea was opened the German Kaiser Wilhelm issued a rule that all 14 ferry crossings should be free of charge. This was made to achieve acceptance by the locals as all old traffic lines were heavily impaired by the new canal. Until today all of the ferry crossings remained free of charge for both pedestrians and cars.

  3. baratza


    19 klukkustundum síðan

    in germany we have ferrys at the north baltic sea channel which are requierd by law to be free of charge

  4. Thunder Kat

    Thunder Kat

    Degi Síðan síðan

    But what about penalties? You could even stop doing the job if no penalty is apply, yet I hear no mentions of any.

  5. Chris Burrow

    Chris Burrow

    Degi Síðan síðan

    I had no idea these was in spitting distance of the walks I have done. I'll give 1 a try for the novelty 😊

  6. Travel Know Hau

    Travel Know Hau

    Degi Síðan síðan

    If the water was any lower, you could walk on the water using all the shopping trolleys and e-scooters as stepping stones. 😂

  7. abhay pota

    abhay pota

    2 dögum síðan

    I like the videos for their uniqueness and quirky ness, but what I love about your videos are the way you interweave the great wisdom into them...hats off to you

  8. Caelesti Gladii

    Caelesti Gladii

    2 dögum síðan

    This reminded me of a train stop that wasn't discontinued until the only person that needed/rides/uses it doesn't need it anymore. It was a Japanese story and I'm not sure how genuine the story is.

  9. Redslayer one Shorts

    Redslayer one Shorts

    2 dögum síðan

    An embarrassing amount of us are here from the "Tom Scott dies" video. I have admitted it so you can do.

  10. Ralph Meltsner

    Ralph Meltsner

    2 dögum síðan

    Hey, what do you know? You actually did do the video “the British road that is also a boat”! 😊

  11. Mark Duxberry

    Mark Duxberry

    2 dögum síðan

    were you pay the toll theres a little bridge thats wott the tolls for unless the family who owned the small bridge sold too greedy peel holdings Ps its the same peel family who started the Police ...

  12. Mark Duxberry

    Mark Duxberry

    2 dögum síðan

    Its Thelwall and its a city ...

  13. Borislav Markov

    Borislav Markov

    2 dögum síðan

    I came for the trolls, stayed for legal history.

  14. Abcdif


    2 dögum síðan


  15. MagicaLucem


    3 dögum síðan

    Maybe Peel Group should open up a Patreon account...or ask for a discretionary Wikipedia. Splish splash maybe...but loss of, 'Footpaths', or 'Rights of way', or even, 'Green roads', is even more sad.

  16. MagicaLucem


    3 dögum síðan

    You could have said, ' Water crossing'. There are more words in the dictionary than in your philosophy .. sigh.

  17. purgruv


    3 dögum síðan

    Not rivers, not canals; waterways

  18. Kit Fisher

    Kit Fisher

    3 dögum síðan

    I use that bridge all the time. They better be keeping annual pass prices down. It’s well worth a pop over to altrincham markets for 12p. I will have to go back to Tesco if it’s a pound.

  19. Jack Price

    Jack Price

    3 dögum síðan

    Get out of my ends tom

  20. Sparkey Jones

    Sparkey Jones

    4 dögum síðan

    I don't know who you are, but your enthusiasm is infectious. Subscribed, and looking forward to more content.

  21. Colby Grimm

    Colby Grimm

    4 dögum síðan

    multi billion dollar corporations write the law not the government.

  22. qactustick


    4 dögum síðan

    Forgive me, but that Thelwall 'ferry' looks like it can support neither vehicles nor 15 tons as required by the law. It's just a rowboat!

  23. Shaggy C

    Shaggy C

    4 dögum síðan

    When it costs more to collect the money, you should either raise the rate or get rid of the toll.

  24. The Ludonarrian

    The Ludonarrian

    4 dögum síðan

    You have an amazing ability to make boring things incredibly interesting and entertaining.

  25. Sir Jaojao

    Sir Jaojao

    4 dögum síðan

    It would be really fun to visit these places!

  26. True River

    True River

    4 dögum síðan

    I have been across that bridge on a motorbike

  27. True River

    True River

    4 dögum síðan

    Correction: the canal does not quite reach Manchester but ends in Salford, just West of Manchester. Salford ppl are quite particular that (despite the M5 postcod) Salford is a separate city in its own right.

  28. True River

    True River

    4 dögum síðan

    Just come from the Nuremburgring video. That is another Tom Scott on a toll road one. Not much difference really...

  29. rualert


    4 dögum síðan

    I would think that, if the ferry is a 'public utility' - although privately owned - the owners of that utility would be required to respond to any reasonable inquiry from the public.

  30. Ophidahlia


    4 dögum síðan

    Only Tom could make a tiny metal rowboat and a pocket-change toll on an old bridge this fascinating

  31. Joanna


    5 dögum síðan

    the road toll to make up for their corruption

  32. Donavan B LoForte RPN, RCRT, LCRT

    Donavan B LoForte RPN, RCRT, LCRT

    5 dögum síðan


  33. nzlemming


    5 dögum síðan

    You anarchist, you.

    • Joanna


      5 dögum síðan

      grumbling about the 12p toll!

  34. MISTER


    5 dögum síðan

    Can you do a video on why dutch canals are better then english canals

  35. Nerte


    5 dögum síðan

    As a fellow european, I think it's more mind-blowing that there's an actual fee, not that it's so cheap.

  36. snow man333

    snow man333

    5 dögum síðan

    ship canal? with no ships?

  37. lewis silk

    lewis silk

    5 dögum síðan

    They have a toll Bridge just like this in oxford over the Thames which costs 5p a crossing and causes massive queues. Was always kids from school working the booth when we drove over

  38. olly hp

    olly hp

    5 dögum síðan

    Can’t believe Tom Scott came to my sleepy little town and I didn’t even know about it.

  39. Naud van Dalen

    Naud van Dalen

    5 dögum síðan

    12 pence is way more reasonable than 15 pounds for a small bridge since most bridges are free and you only pay a few pence per kilometer in taxes.

  40. Richard Jack Lewis ll

    Richard Jack Lewis ll

    5 dögum síðan

    Very intriguing

  41. Will Datsun

    Will Datsun

    5 dögum síðan

    Peel could afford to just replace the bridge and scrap the toll.

  42. Kort Walsh

    Kort Walsh

    5 dögum síðan

    Here here. More strange expenses for locals paid by billionaire corporate entities. Why not!?

  43. Duckbilled Walrus

    Duckbilled Walrus

    5 dögum síðan

    They'll make a lot more than £0.12 per crossing due to people not having the right change. I wouldn't be surprised if plenty of people put £1 in the pot already because they didn't have any other change available

  44. Ptao Tom

    Ptao Tom

    5 dögum síðan

    this being a perfect example - "it'd be more annoying to change in that continue putting up with it". How brilliantly British.

  45. lee a dorney

    lee a dorney

    5 dögum síðan

    Cycles go free

  46. Prjndigo


    6 dögum síðan

    The Peel group is not allowed to refuse interviews and meetings for any reason; to do so would void their charter. Don't put up with their crap. Find someone on the canal who would like to set up a ferry and pony the cost of a boat then request a meeting with Peel.

    • Ptao Tom

      Ptao Tom

      5 dögum síðan

      How do you look so old?

  47. Traugott Müller

    Traugott Müller

    6 dögum síðan

    If I was living anywhere near Hulmes, I'd made sure to use that Ferry at least once a week.

  48. Katie Sutton

    Katie Sutton

    6 dögum síðan

    I once learned can part-pay the Warby bridge staff in Haribo if you only have 10p. Also: one of my favourite things in summer is to cycle past motorists with their windows down grumbling about the 12p toll!

  49. Ruth Hennell

    Ruth Hennell

    6 dögum síðan

    you should check out the Newport transporter bridge!

  50. Jack Mathieson

    Jack Mathieson

    6 dögum síðan

    I think I drove over the Warburton till bridge a few months ago without knowing it was there beforehand! I was a bit confused and I didn't have any change and went over for free 😂

  51. Dave Rome

    Dave Rome

    6 dögum síðan

    Never once paid on the Warburton bridge 😂😂 just drive through and flick then the bird 😂😂😂

  52. Jagar CogHeart

    Jagar CogHeart

    6 dögum síðan

    someone must have a fear of bridges. only option then is the ferry.

  53. Lezley Mackrel

    Lezley Mackrel

    6 dögum síðan

    The Warburton bridge toll booth got burned down a few years back, probably because the queues were a joke. Sadly they rebuilt it

  54. Barry Wood

    Barry Wood

    6 dögum síðan

    He's an excellent speaker. I wish I could borrow his voice for my interview this week. I'd get the job for sure!

  55. WindyJAMiller


    6 dögum síðan


  56. thumbwarriordx


    6 dögum síðan

    If ISboths were running the ferries they would simply be moved 100 yards upstream and then camouflaged. Discontinued 3 years later citing low usage.

  57. Steve Jones

    Steve Jones

    6 dögum síðan

    12p for a car crossing? That's a rip-off; the Swinford Toll Bridge over the Thames in Oxfordshire, not too far from where I live charges 5p (reputedly the lowest such toll charge in the UK). However, it's 10,000 crossing a day, and it seems to be enough that somebody paid £1.08 million pounds for it in 2009.

  58. hen ko

    hen ko

    6 dögum síðan

    Tom peels back the curtain on river/canal crossings exposing the minutiae of a large corporations responsibilities involved in getting the people to the other side.

  59. Mateus Figueiredo

    Mateus Figueiredo

    6 dögum síðan

    In the end laws are just words on paper. They don't hold up if someone doesn't enforce them.

  60. Drew


    6 dögum síðan

    This video has 36M views.

    • hen ko

      hen ko

      6 dögum síðan

      You should try Bucklebury Ferry, near the village of Bree. The inn there is awesome as well.

  61. Rat Man

    Rat Man

    7 dögum síðan

    How do you look so old?

  62. Prem Raghvani

    Prem Raghvani

    7 dögum síðan

    Welcome to Manchester!

  63. Menno Lente

    Menno Lente

    7 dögum síðan

    12p toll? Sounds like a ferry tale to me!

  64. Joe Pereira

    Joe Pereira

    7 dögum síðan

    I feel as though Tom and Adam C would get on well

  65. AJGeeTV


    7 dögum síðan

    Thanks for this video, Tom. I don't live far from the ship canal and in my 57 years I'd never heard of the ferries until now. Our family will be using them in the next week or two, just for fun...

  66. luke cheung

    luke cheung

    7 dögum síðan

    The Warburton bridge toll isn't the big bridge in view, its of the small bridge the toll is situated on

  67. noname atall

    noname atall

    7 dögum síðan

    billion dollar corporations should not be allowed to exist under any circumstance.

  68. Curious Crandall

    Curious Crandall

    7 dögum síðan

    Consultation closed end or August :-(

  69. Moto Jay

    Moto Jay

    7 dögum síðan

    Damn Tom was in my neck of the woods!

  70. Taylor


    7 dögum síðan

    I think you’ve missed one of the most unique ones. The hand cranked ferry in Stratford Upon Avon. It seems to run whenever required - I think it’s 183 years or so old. Still running £1 per person.

  71. Brady Lillington

    Brady Lillington

    7 dögum síðan

    You should do a video on the Sandbanks Ferry, similarly an Act of Parliament. One of the most expensive, if not the most expensive chain driven ferry in Europe

  72. mario sarmientos

    mario sarmientos

    7 dögum síðan

    We from Latin America who have crossed a river with our cars in a tire-based improvised boat: not impressed.

  73. BcA - Biciclind cu Axel

    BcA - Biciclind cu Axel

    7 dögum síðan

    Island of Muppets

  74. stevieinselby


    7 dögum síðan

    The Warburton Bridge is important because - apart from motorways and railways - the nearest other bridges are 6 miles in one direction (Salford Gateway) and 5 miles in the other (Warrington). It reminds me of Aldwark Bridge, north of York, where there is an even longer section of unbridged river apart from this one shonky wooden bridge on a minor lane, that has a toll of 40p (it was 20p when I used to use it back in 2003), and the owner is currently in a legal battle with residents to increase it to 80p to cover the costs of repair work.

  75. Storm Bowman

    Storm Bowman

    7 dögum síðan

    You should try Bucklebury Ferry, near the village of Bree. The inn there is awesome as well.

  76. Ted Ned

    Ted Ned

    7 dögum síðan

    Thats exactly what they are doing on the narrows bridge in Washington state....... its been paid for for 10 years now, but they keep raising the toll....... all they see it as is one big cash grab....

  77. Lawkeye


    7 dögum síðan

    you're so similar to Joe Jenkins. like a future version

  78. Sam Findlay

    Sam Findlay

    7 dögum síðan

    This is the most British video Ive ever seen

  79. Ethan Bennett

    Ethan Bennett

    7 dögum síðan

    apparently the big bridge is NOT actually the toll bridge. the actual toll bridge is a much smaller bridge crossing over a stream that a farmer owns. some of the drone shots might show it

  80. Funny Memes

    Funny Memes

    7 dögum síðan

    Tom and his quirky stuff.

  81. Adolfo Sanpedro Gante

    Adolfo Sanpedro Gante

    7 dögum síðan

    I don't know Tom "Three Curious Canal Crossings" sounds better to me.

  82. Nicholas Diehl

    Nicholas Diehl

    7 dögum síðan

    But that's super cool so u can go out on a ferry at 12am

  83. Martin Danuschewske

    Martin Danuschewske

    7 dögum síðan

    In Switzerland is a little ferryboat at the river Rhine. The place is called "Buchberg" and you can call out a request to cross the Rhine by banging a piece of Metal against a piece of an old railroad track. Then someone comes from the other side to pick you up. But only if someone is there. I don't remember any workinghours. Quite amusing experience though.

  84. Zaru noi

    Zaru noi

    7 dögum síðan

    Are you sure cyclists use it? It doesn't look very cyclist friendly with it not having an easy way to get your bike on

  85. Joshua Collins

    Joshua Collins

    7 dögum síðan

    People in general would realize that some things are just more easily dealt with than fighting. Day to day, I see people getting worked up & making a fuss over the smallest of inconveniences.

  86. MrHuwPowell


    8 dögum síðan

    Too bad you didn’t check out Whitney toll bridge.

  87. Zenpai


    8 dögum síðan

    I really enjoy the improvised videos you make!

  88. G G

    G G

    8 dögum síðan

    It will be Thelwall ferry, as in Thelwall Viaduct.



    8 dögum síðan

    Weird Stuff. However. Its more about tourism noe not about ferry service itself.

  90. SpartiuS94


    8 dögum síðan

    Company running the bridge: if we go a bit silently about it, we could raise it to 1 pound and make over a million in revenue per year. Tom: No, I don't think you will.

  91. Dan Horro

    Dan Horro

    8 dögum síðan

    Had to cross that bridge a few months ago was very confused as to why there was a 12p toll, now I know!

  92. Hugh Wright

    Hugh Wright

    8 dögum síðan

    Sometimes residents near the Warburton Bridge will give the toll booth feller a few quid and tell him to let the next few cars through to alleviate traffic. Might've beeb what happened to you.

  93. Hugh Wright

    Hugh Wright

    8 dögum síðan

    Wahey, the Irlam ferry!

  94. Theo's Epic Videos

    Theo's Epic Videos

    8 dögum síðan

    There's this quirky multi-billion dollar company in Texas at Boca Chica... They're buidling these big people transport rockets.

  95. vp 787

    vp 787

    8 dögum síðan

    Could you please talk about the Australian Identify and Disrupt Bill. It allows police unparalleled power over Australians online accounts. Allowing them to access an account on "suspected criminal activities", They can look at, edit, delete, and post things from this account.

  96. happy little clam feet

    happy little clam feet

    8 dögum síðan

    A couple of curious canal crossings

  97. willie Thomson

    willie Thomson

    8 dögum síðan

    My fave bridge

  98. NotPenguinFrog


    8 dögum síðan

    I lived around there and that small boat has never been open I've been down there many times and it's never open and I never knew about that motor boat crossing

  99. Gallaelwyd -

    Gallaelwyd -

    8 dögum síðan

    Peel Holdings are scarily huge. They sometimes build without a buyer on the other end for what seems like a "cause we can" scenario (or maybe there's more to it). But they're also responsible for buying up almost every piece of green land and open space protected in some way or not to build shoddily made and overpriced houses (which the government calls 'affordable') on land not fit for purpose (huge mining culture and subsequently marshy land). It's a shame they can finance a ferry and pay a bloke to run it (presumably) but can't spare one employee for an interview...

  100. Michael Ding

    Michael Ding

    8 dögum síðan

    Bridge crossing is free if you show up in a horse carriage? How about a bicycle?