We have just finished an extensive five month project to deepen a two mile stretch of the river from Saltersford Locks, north of Weaverham to Anderton Boat Lift, near Northwich.
One of the beneficiaries of the deeper river is the newly restored Daniel Adamson ‘The Danny' steam ship, the former flagship of the Manchester Ship Canal, which now offers passenger trips along the River Weaver. The enlarged channel will also give a major boost to a new boat and ship repair business, Northwich Drydock Company, which took over a former commercial boatyard at Hunts Lock in 2017.
The £850,000 project builds on previous dredging work at Dutton Locks, near Acton Bridge, to carve out a deeper channel from the Weaver's confluence with the Manchester Ship Canal and River Mersey at Runcorn.
Spot dredging over the summer has resulted in the removal of around 30,000 cubic metres of silt and mud, weighing a jumbo-sized 40,000 tonnes, equivalent to 8,000 African elephants. Next year the Trust plans to continue the phased dredging programme by deepening the navigation at the confluence with the River Dane and down to Hunts Lock, south of Northwich.
Duncan Davenport, Canal & River Trust customer operations manager, said: "This is an incredibly important development in maintaining the River Weaver as a navigation. Like all rivers, it silts up over time, so the job of keeping the waterway open for boats of varying sizes is a constant challenge.
"We are particularly pleased to be working in partnership with the Daniel Adamson Preservation Society to link their Heritage Lottery Funded-ship with the Canal & River Trust's HLF funded-Anderton Boat Lift.
"Starting in spring next year, waterway enthusiasts and schools will be able to enjoy an extensive programme of river trips and educational visits combining the two great attractions. This will not only bring science and history to life for school groups, it will also be a massive boost for tourism in Cheshire, creating a unique, world class visitor destination.
"Widening and deepening the river channel will also enable larger coastal vessels to travel up the River Weaver to use the drydock, paint shed and boatyard services provided by the new entrepreneurial Northwich Drydock Company. The Trust is delighted the old boatyard has been brought back into use and we are keen to support this dynamic, fledgling business as much as we can. We look forward to the fantastic sight of watching ‘The Danny' and other vessels becoming regular visitors to this beautiful waterway."
For more information about ‘The Danny' steamship, check out www.thedanny.co.uk/.