Relevant publications — Waterway Maps:
- Waterway Routes 01M - England and Wales Map
- Waterway Routes 23M - Manchester Ship Canal and River Mersey Map (Downloadable)
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Wikipedia has a page about River Mersey
The River Mersey /ˈmɜrzi/ is a river in North West England. Its name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon language and translates as "boundary river". The river may have been the border between the ancient kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria and for centuries it formed part of the boundary between the historic counties of Lancashire and Cheshire.
The start of the Mersey is at the confluence of the River Tame and River Goyt in Stockport. It flows westwards through the suburban areas of south Manchester towards Warrington where the river widens before it then narrows as it passes between the towns of Runcorn and Widnes. From Runcorn the river widens into a large estuary, which is 3 miles (4.8 km) wide at its widest point near Ellesmere Port. The course of the river then heads north, with Liverpool to the east and the Wirral Peninsula to the west and finishes at Liverpool Bay. In total the river flows 70.33 miles (113 km).
Two road tunnels pass under the estuary from Liverpool, the Queensway Tunnel opened in 1934 connecting the city to Birkenhead, and the Kingsway Tunnel, opened in 1971, connects with Wallasey. The Silver Jubilee Bridge completed in 1961, crosses between Runcorn and Widnes. There is a Railway bridge adjacent to the Silver Jubilee Bridge and between Liverpool and Birkenhead there is a railway tunnel. The Mersey Ferry operates between Pier Head in Liverpool and Woodside in Birkenhead and Seacombe and has become a tourist attraction offering cruises that provide an overview of the river and surrounding areas.
Water quality in the Mersey was severely affected by industrialisation, and in 1985, the Mersey Basin Campaign was established to improve water quality and encourage waterside regeneration. In 2009 it was announced that the river is "cleaner than at any time since the industrial revolution" and is "now considered one of the cleanest in the UK". The Mersey Valley Countryside Warden Service manages local nature reserves such as Chorlton Ees and Sale Water Park. The river gave its name to Merseybeat, developed by bands from Liverpool, notably the Beatles. In 1965 it was the subject of the top-ten hit single "Ferry Cross the Mersey" by Gerry and the Pacemakers.