Cheshire West and Chester Council


AINA Representative: Mr Rupert Adams

Wyvern House
The Drumber
Cheshire CW7 1AH


Constitutional status 

The stretch of the River Dee which is within the navigational responsibility of the Cheshire West and Chester Council extends from the Wilcox Point to Shocklach Green.

Description of navigation

The River Dee is tidal below the weir and the tide gets over the weir when it exceeds a height of 9.1m or 29.9ft, (Based on Liverpool tide heights). The highest tide is 11m which will travel inland beyond Farndon, 13mile upstream of the weir.

High tides, or spring tides as they are known, occur 2 - 3 days after a new or full moon. The height and time varies each tide but the biggest are typically around 1pm or 1am.

The exact tide height is +01.05h from the high tide at Liverpool based on the Laver Tides Book. Not to be confused with the Liverpool dock tide heights.

The Council owns the river bed (including weir) including the old pumping station (Hydro electric building) which is leased out.

A brief history of the navigation

Records show the navigational history dates back to 1885 when it was bequeathed to the Council in a will for a purchase price.

Current situation and use


The river is well used with on average over 40 Commercial Licences, 170 Annual Licences, 36 Daily Licences and 4 Weekly Licences issued. The first record of Chester Regatta dates back to 1733, with the first rowing club starting in 1838. 1922 saw the first Dee Mile swim and the Chester Sailing and Canoe club was founded in 1956. The Council maintains an annual list of river events (see

Plans for the future

There has been a major investment in improved access to the riverside with the development of pedestrian and cycle paths linking open spaces and acting as a catalyst for redevelopment. However, there are many open spaces within the river corridor that remain disconnected due to physical and social barriers. As a consequence there is an unrealised synergy between these spaces that can significantly enhance the public benefit of the river corridor, help to conserve the riverside environment and contribute to the delivery of corporate priorities.

The Council is involved in a number of strategic initiatives, projects and studies that have the potential to benefit the river corridor, both directly and indirectly.

A common theme for all of this work is the development of better access to green (and blue) space that includes the river corridor. This combination of strategic policy development, research and funding bids clearly demonstrates that the importance of the river corridor has been recognised by the Council but there is still the need to better coordinate these efforts, link this work to its management and promote the river corridor as area an of high quality environment that will support the future sustainable development of the City. In response to this a Green Infrastructure Plan with site management plans have been developed to link the development and management of the green network and open spaces within the river corridor.

The plan provides a means of linking the river corridor to other parts of the city and linking river corridor project proposals to wider strategic planning.

How we consult with our users

There are a wide range of river users, and other parties, who have a stake in the management of the river and the Council is undertaking an extensive consultation to establish the aspirations of individual and groups for the Dee.

How we are structured

Within the Council the management of the River Dee falls within the responsibilities of a project manager from Regulatory Services. However, work associated with the river cuts across many service areas and the work is coordinated through a multi-disciplinary officer team.

The Council provides a Safety Patrol boat crewed by off duty fire personnel. Responsibilities include:

  • River patrol May to September using Council’s boat
  • Inspections of full navigation stretch once every month
  • Ensuring compliance with Bylaws
  • Completion of daily and weekly logs
  • Advisor to river users during events

In addition, a private company is contracted to:

  • Provide a passenger ferry boat service at Sandy Lane
  • To keep river, weir & Groves tidy of debris and litter

Navigation statistics

Length/area of navigable waterway

approx. 33.7 km

Number of locks



20m (maximum at this time)







Boating statistics

12 month period
Licences/Registrations - Long Term




Privately owned



Hire – day boats



Hire – overnight stay/timeshare



Hire – trip boat/ restaurant/passenger



Hire – hotel



Other business/charity boats



Requirements for boating

Boat Safety Scheme


Third Party Insurance