Mersey is an important feature of the city. In many ways, liverpool and the surrounding area are the lifespan of the mersey River. Within the river and its estuary, the region will have less natural resources and the city’s commercial potential will be greatly reduced. This is not to say that Mersey always has a positive impact on the areas that flow through it. Like any river, it is prone to floods and pollutants.


The name Mersey can be roughly translated from Anglo-Saxon meaning “border river”. At one time, the river has been used as a demarcation between the states of Mercia and Northumbria. More recently, the river clearly divided the historical counties of Cheshire and Lancashire.

Mercey itself is a confluence of three tributaries; Goyt, Tam and Ithro. Etherrow starts in Longendale, Tame’s own source is Denshaw Moore, and Goyt begins at X Age. Most geographers define the beginning  as being located in Greater Manchester, the place where Tame and Goyat meet. From here, the river flows through the north west of England until it meets the sea close to Liverpool.


The Mersey estuary is a place of historical, cultural, geographical and biological importance. Liverpool sits on one side of the estuary and Birkenhead sits on the other. Together these settlements are known as Merseyside. The ferry connection between the two settlements was also immortalized in the song “Ferry Cross the Jersey” by gerry and the pacemaker.The crossing between these two settlements has existed since the time of the mediaeval, when a ferry crossing was established to divert people to Birkenhead Priory

Mercyside also became an important trade and military destination thanks to the river. At the beginning of its history, Liverpool and the Mersal estuary were used as an avatar point for soldiers who were traveling to Ireland. Later, the city received thousands of immigrants who were surviving the Great Famine in Ireland. The river allowed goods to be carried more easily from northern England to the sea, and vice versa. From here, these goods could be transported to other national and international destinations. This trading capacity helped to increase Liverpool’s wealth and population for over 500 years.

Due to its industrial history, Mersey has been affected by excessive pollution. Initial environmental testing showed a drop in oxygen levels in the river, which had a widespread impact on wildlife populations at all levels of the food chain. Sediment examinations have also shown that high concentrations of metals (such as mercury) and organic pollutants have been recorded.

Sediment dwellers have a tendency to sit at the bottom of the food chain, and so these pollutants are able to accumulate in wildlife throughout the system as the animals feed on each other. Since the Industrial Revolution, the population of wildlife in the area has decreased greatly. Thankfully, recent sediment and oxygen analyzes indicate that the river is improving. Scientists believe that pollutant levels have now receded so that they are now lower than they were before the Industrial Revolution.

Fish stocks have plummeted during the last few centuries because of a combination of overfishing and pollution. The area was also home to the wild otter population. Although this species went extinct in the area for some time, evidence suggests that some animals are returning to the river. These animals are only known to thrive in clear water, so seeing them again in Jersey would be a huge boost. Large mammals found in estuary waters include bottlenose dolphins, harbor porpoises, and Atlantic gray seals.  The climate of the wetlands, created by the freshwater of the river from the saltwater of the Gulf of Liverpool, is favorable for biological diversity. Wetlands of Melseyside are home to many different duck species and winters, including pintails, turnstones, redshanks, black-tailed godwits, and teals. The waters around the estuary were once enriched with fish, including dab, whiting, plasse, flounder, mackerel, dogfish, tope, shrimp, and whitebait.



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