River Dee, Wales

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Old Dee Bridge, River Dee, Chester, England (2002)

The River Dee (Welsh: Afon Dyfrdwy) is a 70 mile (110 km) long river, which rises in Snowdonia, Wales and discharges to the sea a few miles west of Liverpool.


1 See also
2 External links


The total catchment area of the River Dee up to Chester Weir is approximately 1800 km². The average rainfall over the catchment is estimated to be 640 mm yielding an average flow of 37 m³/s. The larger reservoirs in the catchment are:


The River Dee has its source on the slopes of Dduallt above Llanuwchllyn in the mountains of Snowdonia in Merioneth, Gwynedd, Wales, and then passes through Bala Lake. The path of the river trends generally east-south-east as it descends off the Ordovician Denbigh moors, over the man-made Horseshoe Falls and through Llangollen, generally skirting the outcropping Karstic limestone exposures north of Llangollen. East of Llangollen, Thomas Telford's Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, of 1805, carries the Shropshire Union Canal 120 feet (37 m) overhead. One of the major tributaries of the Dee, the Afon Alyn crosses the carboniferous limestone from Halkyn Mountain and down through the Loggerheads area before making its confluence near Mold. Throughout the length of the Alyn there are numerous sink-holes and caverns and during the summer months long streches of the river bed run dry. A significant part of this lost flow re-emerges in a man-made tunnel entering the west bank of the Dee estuary carrying some 12 million imperial gallons per day (600 L/s). This tunnel was originally constructed to drain metal mines in Halkyn Mountain. Once the main river Dee approaches the Cheshire border and the Carboniferous coal measures, it turns sharply northwards before meandering up to Chester. This long strech of the river drops in height by only a few feet and can be regarded as a highly linear lake. The rich adjoining farmland has many remnants of abandoned coal workings and deep clay-pits used to make bricks and tiles. A number of these pits are now being used to contain dometic and commercial waste as large land-fill sites.

At Farndon the river crosses into England and then passes through Chester. At Chester the river passes under the A55 dual carriageway and around the Earl's Eye meadows, a protected green space in between the Boughton and Handbridge suburbs of the city. The River is crossed by a ferry from Boughton to the meadows, and at the Groves, a Victorian riverside recreation area with a bandstand, benches and boat cruises, by two bridges. The first is the Queen's Park Suspension Bridge, which forms the only exclusively pedestrian footway across the river in Chester. The second is the Old Dee Bridge, a road bridge and by far the oldest bridge in Chester, being built in about 1387 on the site of a series of wooden predecessors which dated originally from the Roman period.

Below the Old Dee Bridge, the river has a weir, which was built by Hugh Lupus to supply power to his corn mills with the help of a small generator building which is still visible today. On this weir is as a fish pass and fish counting station to monitor the numbers of Salmon ascending the river. A little further along the river stands the Grosvenor Bridge (designed by architect Thomas Harrison of Chester), which was opened in 1833 to ease congestion on the Old Dee Bridge. This bridge was opened by Princess Victoria five years before she became Queen. The other side of the Grosvenor Bridge is the Roodee, Chester's race course and the oldest course in the country. This used to be the site of Chester's harbour until, aided by the building of the weir, the River Dee silted up to become the size it is today. The only curiously remaining reminder of this site's maritime past is a stone cross which stands in the middle of the Roodee which exhibits the marks of water ripples. To the end of the Roodee the river is crossed again by a second suspension bridge, now carrying the Chester–Holyhead railway line, before leaving Chester.

Missing image
River Dee Weir, Chester, England (2002)

Below Chester, the river flows along an artificial channel, excavated when Sealand and Shotton were reclaimed from the estuary.

This 'canalised' section runs in a straight line for five miles (8 km) and passes beneath two road bridges at Queensferry. The first is a modern fixed cable-stayed bridge, the second, the Queen Victoria Jubilee Bridge, is of the rolling bascule type.

A mile further on is the Hawarden railway bridge, originally constructed as a swing bridge but now never opened, carries the BirkenheadWrexham line over the river.

The River then opens out into its estuary, forming the north eastern tip of the North Wales coast and the southern coast of the Wirral. Towns along the coast include Flint, Prestatyn and Holywell on the Welsh side and Neston, Parkgate, West Kirby and Hoylake on the Wirral side.

The name of the river derives from the Welsh name for the river (Afon Dyfrdwy).

The flow of river Dee is very highly regulated through the use of reservoirs to store water in the winter and release it in this summer. The whole system is managed as the River Dee regulation system

It is one of three Rivers Dee in the UK.

Canoeing on the River Dee

The Dee used to be a popular whitewater kayaking and touring river (particular the grade III/IV whitewater section upstream of Llangollen). It stays high after rain for longer than most British rivers and is paddleable year-round (thanks to the River Dee Regulation System). Canoeing used to be allowed on about twelve weekends per year, and tens of thousands of canoeists descended on Llangollen for recreational paddling (several Dee tours were held every winter), slalom competitions, and wild water races.

Public access to the river is arranged by the Welsh Canoe Association. In 2003 negotiations with the angling associations owning fishing rights on the Dee broke down (the anglers wanted to restrict the numbers of paddlers on the river when paddling was allowed, the Welsh Canoe Association wanted to renew the previous agreement) and all canoeing was banned. In November 2004, a protest about the lack of access on the Dee, and to rivers across England and Wales, was held in Llangollen. More protests are likely in the future.

Canoeing is permitted on one 100 m long rapid 1 km upstream of Langollen, and on some flat sections far downstream in England.

See also

External links

no:Dee, Wales


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