Ladybird Boat Trust

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<<<<<>December 2017
December 2017

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If your trip is less than 3 hours then please book a start time as close to 10:00 as possible.
This allows us to run an extra trip in the afternoon.
If you would like to discuss a short trip leaving later, then please use the Contact area.

Ladybird News

Find out about the latest news and events

About the Ladybird and Ladybird Boat Trust

Hartford Marina, Huntingdon, Registered Charity No. 1153894

The Boat

The Ladybird Boat Trust (LBT) was set up in 2013 and is based at Hartford Marina near Huntingdon. The vessel Ladybird is wheelchair accessible and accommodates up to 20 passengers in a large heated cabin complete with kitchen and wheelchair accessible toilet facilities. The open foredeck area enables passengers to enjoy to the full the magnificent scenery and wildlife on the river.

Please click on this link if you require more information.

The Service

The service operates from mid April to early October and is crewed by a Boatmaster and 5 trained crew, all of whom are volunteers who give up their time and skills to run around 100 trips each year. A typical trip is between 10am and 3pm, and is either upstream towards Godmanchester and Brampton, or down to the Hemingfords and St Ives.

More information on possible trips and time to allow can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

Passenger Groups

Trips are open to groups of the disadvantaged or disabled, young or elderly (and their carers) based within reasonable road travel distance from our base on the Great Ouse near Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.  Many groups return year after year and the annual boat trip is a highlight in their year. 

In 2016 we welcomed over a 100 groups including Specialist Groups, Care Homes ,Day Centres and Friendship Groups

Radio Interview

Why not take a listen to two of our Boatmasters, Bob and Annette, being interviewed on Huntingdon Community Radio! They will tell you all about Ladybird! Click here to listen. (It's a fairly big file so please be patient whilst it loads!)

Listen Here


The Trust works hard to cover the £17,000 annual running costs and is fortunate to have generous donors who continue to support its activities. If passengers are able to make a donation themselves this is always very gratefully received.

The major costs we have to meet are include Mooring fees; Insurance; Maritime & Coastguard Agency annual survey costs; Maintenance & lift out costs and Fuel.

Help Us

If you would like help us financially, this would be very welcome either as a Patron (paying £120 p.a. by bankers standing order) or as a Friend (contributing whatever amount you wish). Please click here to see how you could help us by making a Donation.

If you can gift aid your donation this increases the amount LBT receives by 25%.

Find out more here about Supporters.

Watch a video about the Ladybird by clicking on this link Here.

Presidents of the LBT

Sir John Baird
Lady Mary Baird

Trustees of the LBT

Alan Worth - Chairman
Peter Clark - Treasurer
Paul Waldron - Secretary
Tony Clancy - Boat Manager
Bob Miller

Read a letter from Sir John Baird Here.

Frequently Asked Questions about Ladybird

Please find a selection of commonly asked questions and answers below.

Are you able to cater for impaired mobility including wheelchairs?

Vehicles can unload passengers close to the boat. The boat has wheelchair accessible toilet facilities and easy access for all users, including those in wheelchairs.

How much will the trip cost?

Obviously, now that we are an independent charity, raising the money to continue to operate is an important issue, but we remain committed to providing free trips for groups or individuals who are unable, for whatever reason, to make a contribution to our costs.

If you are able to contribute in any way, all donations will be gratefully received and will help support those less fortunate. We are often asked what a suitable donation would be and, whilst the crew are all volunteers, we have fixed costs of insurance, mooring fees, maintenance and fuel which amount to approximately £12,000 a year. We calculate that if all passengers who are able to, were to donate £12 per person per trip, this would just about cover these costs. I am sure you will agree that a contribution of this size is good value for a day's outing on the river.

What days does Ladybird operate?

Normally trips take place Monday to Friday from April –September inclusive between the hours of 10am to 3pm.   However on days when we run two shorter trips there is more flexibility on times. We also  operate  a limited number of extra trips which are available at weekends or in the evening (subject to crew availability).

Where can I go on the river?

This depends on the length of the trip booked which can be from 1 - 5 hours and whether you wish to stop for a picnic or get off the boat. The following are given as a guide to timings starting and finishing at Hartford Marina.

Please note river conditions on the day can affect any pre-made plans and so cannot be guaranteed.

Up to 2 Hours

  • Trip on River Ouse between Houghton Mill Lock and Godmanchester Lock.

Between 2 and 3 Hours

  • Through Godmanchester Lock and  into Godmanchester Basin to moor for a picnic or have fish and chips delivered to the boat.
  • Hemingford Grey via Houghton Lock and return.
  • Brampton via Godmanchester Lock.

4 Hours

  • Travel to St Ives (no stop).
  • Travel beyond Brampton Lock.

5 Hours

  • Travel to St Ives with approximately 60 to 75 minutes to leave the boat for a meal or to walk around the town.
  • The furthest we can travel (without stopping) is the Ferryboat Inn  (via St Ives) or Paxton Pits (via Brampton).

What options do we have for refreshments and food?

Your group has a number options for refreshments and food, depending on the length of time your trip is booked for and the distance that your party is able to walk.  If you would like further advice then please discuss with us when you make your booking.

There is a small galley kitchen on board with microwave and hot water heater. You need to bring your own coffee, tea, milk, other drinks and utensils that you might require. You might wish to bring your own food and this can be eaten on board or we moor beside the bank and you can picnic on the riverbank or in a park.


Alternatively you might wish to have a takeaway and bring it back to the boat.  There are fish & chip shops close to moorings in Godmanchester (will deliver to the boat) and St Ives along with other shops where food can be purchased.

Provided you have booked a 5 hour trip you might wish to prearrange with a pub or restaurant to have a sit down meal.  We can moor beside the Dolphin Hotel or at the Waits in St Ives and the Brampton Mill at Brampton.  In St Ives there are two fish and chip shops and a number of other pubs and restaurants within 200 metres of the mooring point.

How is Ladybird funded?

We are dependent on the generosity of patrons, sponsors and crew members to meet the running costs.  Our major costs include mooring fees, insurance, Maritime & Coastguard Agency annual survey costs, and fuel.

How can I support the Ladybird?

If you would like help us financially, this would be very welcome either as a Patron (paying £120 p.a by bankers standing order) or as a Friend (contributing whatever amount you wish).  If you can gift aid your donation this increases the amount LBT receives by 25%. Please check out our Support Section

Please check back for updates or, if you require further information, please contact us.

Health & Safety

Your safety is very important to us.

Crew will be present to provide safe entry and exit to the Ladybird.
Before your trip commences the Boatmaster will provide information and a safety announcement will then be played.
The Marine and Coastguard Agency who licence the boat require and inspect our Safety Management Plans for responding to emergencies and that risk assessment for passengers and crew members have been carried out.

Click here to view our current risk assessments

During the winter months crew carry out training which includes dealing with emergencies, risk awareness and first aid refresher courses.

Support the Ladybird Trust

The Ladybird Boat Trust would be delighted if you would consider helping us financially, thus supporting our work in providing free river based trips for disadvantaged groups.

Please take a moment to read a letter from Sir John Baird regarding the history, and the future, of Ladybird - Click Here

There are a number of ways of supporting us:

Become a Patron

Find out about the Patron's Club

Patron Details

Become a Friend

Interested in sponsoring Ladybird?

Sponsorship Details


Even though all our crews are volunteers it does cost a lot of money each year to provide the trips. We are grateful for any donations, big or small.

Donation Form

There are a number of different ways to contact Ladybird

If you have questions about our events, don't hesitate to send us your message.

By Phone

07092 981632

Please note: This is not a mobile number, and calls to this number are charged at premium rates

This number will attempt to find an available volunteer to take your call.
If nobody is available, it will prompt you to leave a message, and then someone will call you back.
If you wish, pressing 2 immediately you hear the message will take you straight to voicemail.

By Email

By Fax

07092 981632

Press 3 as soon as you hear the greeting message, and this will send us a fax instead of a voicemail.

By Post

Ladybird Boat Trust
Hartford Marina
Banks End
Wyton, Huntingdon
PE28 2AA

Boat Mobile

07933 100748

This mobile is only manned during trip hours, and is for emergency use only.
Please only use if you need to contact the boat on the day of your trip.

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