The River Mersey: Interesting Facts and Information

River Mersey Fact File

Length: 112 km (70 miles)

Source: The Mersey is formed when three tributaries – the River Goyt, the River Tame and the River Etherow – merge in Stockport.

Mouth: Liverpool Bay (Irish Sea)

More Facts About The River Mersey

  • The River Mersey represents part the historical boundary between the counties of Lancashire and Cheshire. However, today it flows through the metropolitan county of Merseyside. In Anglo-Saxon times, the Mersey might have been the border between Northumbria and Mercia. It is thought that the name Mersey comes from the Saxon words for ‘boundary’ and ‘river’.
  • Several ferry services have taken passengers and goods across the river over the years. The Mersey Ferry runs between Pier Head (Liverpool), Woodside (Birkenhead) and Seacombe. The 60s band, Gerry and the Pacemakers, released a popular song called ‘Ferry Cross the Mersey’.
  • The amount of industry that developed, from the Industrial Revolution onwards, on the banks of the Mersey had a negative effect on the quality of the Mersey’s water. In recent years, massive efforts have been made to clean the water and remove pollution. These have been very successful.
  • Atlantic grey seals, bottle-nose dolphins and harbour porpoise sometimes swim into the estuary of the River Mersey from Liverpool Bay and the Irish Sea.
  • In the 18th century, the Mersey Docks in Liverpool were one of Britain’s busiest ports. Salt from Cheshire, coal from Lancashire, pottery from Staffordshire, metal from Birmingham and sheep from Wales were all transported out of the country on ships from the Mersey Docks.
  • Some British Hindus think that the River Mersey is sacred (like the River Ganges in India).
  • Every year the Tall Ships Race takes place on the River Mersey.