IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch

8 November 2023

Written by

Jim Forkin

John follows the waterways through the industrial age and up to the present day.  In 2021, after much hard work, members of Chester Civic Trust, IWA and Cheshire West and Chester Council achieved Chester’s designation as the first canal and river system Heritage Port. The heritage port concept aims to properly recognise long established but often neglected ports that have played an important role in the maritime and industrial history of the country.

Chester is embraced by its waterways, yet many visitors and, indeed, many Cestrians have little awareness of the importance of the City’s waterways for its historical development, for its current physical environment and as a force for regeneration in the future.  We are now working with Cheshire West and Chester Council, Canal & River Trust and other stakeholders towards policies which will enhance the role of Chester’s waterways and seize the opportunities provided by the Heritage Port designation.

The main drawback, currently, is that Chester’s waterways are not a joined-up system. The Shropshire Union Canal is widely perceived as a dead end, the branch canal to the Dee is becoming derelict, the tidal river and Old Port are neglected, and the Dee above the Weir or Causeway is cut off from the rest of the system. A possible and exciting remedy to these problems would be to put a lock in the old millrace at the south end of the Causeway and make the whole system fully navigable.   These issues are outlined at greater length in John’s video on YouTube.  Please use this link to view John’s video: –   VIEW VIDEO