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From Stockport to the Sea

March 20th, 2011 · 1 Comment · local, nature, stockport

From Stockport to the Sea

My recent ride into Stockport to do some Geocaching took me to the source of the River Mersey. Better known as the river that is crossed by a certain ferry where it flows between Liverpool and the Wirrall, it actually starts in Stockport where the rivers Tame and Goyt meet.

The spot is marked by an interesting piece of ironwork. Prompted by my recent visit and Jessi’s comment upon it, I decided to find out a little more about it and take a few more photos. I discovered that it was erected in 1994 as part of a project by Mind Stockport and Lancashire Hill Residents. The wording on it reads: “Water is life and Heaven’s gift. Here Rivers Goyt and Tame become Mersey, flowing clear from Stockport to the sea.”

Beneath the words are presented a number of local images and visual references. I have attempted to describe a few below, guessing a few admittedly and wishing I knew the precise origins better. (If anyone knows, do tell!)

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The Victorian mills alongside the birds and other wildlife found along the river are the backdrop to a lone fisherman. The river apparently is now clean enough for salmon to be spotted in it.

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I can’t explain much of this but there’s a football player (reference to Stockport County FC) and an aeroplane – reference to Manchester International Airport 6 miles away or perhaps to the air disaster in 1967 when a plane crashed on the town killing 72 people.

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The town’s unmissable railway viaduct is depicted with a train atop. The hats represent the town’s long tradition of hat-making.

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Below the slightly unflattering depiction of the market halls, the twin tennis rackets refer to Fred Perry, a native of Stockport and the last Englishman to win the Wimbledon title.

I can’t write about the Mersey without saying that it is genuinely a welcome natural feature in the urban landscape and for much of its course (unlike where it originates here in Stockport town centre) it is proteceted by a corridor of greenery that can make you forget just how close to city life you are. I have spent many, many hours walking or cycling beside it. Oh and visited the odd good pub beside it too.

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