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Lost river (Well, brook really)

Posted By: Excoriator

Lost river (Well, brook really) - 10th Sep 2019 8:50am

I have been interested in a stream which originated - I think- somewhere near Mount Road. It has long been largely culverted but traces of it can be seen in the Southwestern border of the Bebington Road allotments, where it enters a culvert by Kingsbrook way. From there on it becomes a sewer, but its course can be traced by the lie of the land as it goes downhill to a low point behind Tesco's car park, going under the Kings Arms car park and from there finds its way to the Old Chester Road via the streets behind the shops and garage. It then follows the Old Chester Road to Bebington station where it goes under the bridge and then runs along Greendale Road for a bit, turns left, skirting the Lady Lever Art Gallery passes the school and goes under the New Chester road at about the junction of Corniche Road and the A41. From there it skirts the Playing fields and arrives at the sewage works, where one might be able to catch a glimpse of it through the trees as it emerges briefly into a concrete channel.

Largely forgotten, it still occasionally pops up to remind us of its existence such as yesterday when heavy rain caused flooding in the Road by the Kings Arms and near the bridge ar Bebington station and along Greendale road. Evidently the flow was too heavy or perhaps there was an obstruction further down causing the drains to back up.

I would like to know what it was called. My suspicion is that it may have been called the Ash brook, based on the fact that the oldest houses along its route are in Ashbrook Terrace near Bebington station and would be grateful if anyone can shed some light on its history.It can be seen - unnamed - on some old maps before it was incorporated into the sewerage system.
Posted By: Gibbo

Re: Lost river (Well, brook really) - 10th Sep 2019 9:14am

Its just marked as "drain" on current maps:


I'm also a fan of stuff like this, there was a culverted stream where I grew up and I was dying to explore it!

Even as a grown up I revisited this childhood fascination by doing some great underground streams when urbexing about 14 years ago. Accrington, Colne, Bury and Stockport had some great ones:

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Posted By: oldpm01

Re: Lost river (Well, brook really) - 10th Sep 2019 11:13am

This may be informative

Posted By: Excoriator

Re: Lost river (Well, brook really) - 10th Sep 2019 10:37pm

What a fascinating book. Many thanks for sending it. It confirms my tracing of the route, although unfortunately throws no light on the name of the stream if it ever had one.

Your mention of underground streams reminded me of my one and only abortive attempt at it at the age of ten. Our village in a South Wales valley had a brook which was fed by two culverted streams. One of them looked feasible to explore so a group of us and a dog set off to explore it. For some reason, we roped each other together like mountaineers although a crevasse seemed rather unlikely and entered the outfall. I was the leader. From the bright sunshine outside it took some time to adapt to the dark but we got about 50 yards in when to my horror, two red eyes appeared ahead in the tunnel. I stopped dead, and as my friends spotted the lurking horror we turned as one and ran in panic for the exit. I think we all fell over and got soaked to the skin and emerged into the sunshine white and shaken - to be pursued by the monster. Which turned out to be the dog!

It had evidently gone ahead of us without any of us noticing!

We never recovered enough courage to reattempt it.
Posted By: petronell

Re: Lost river (Well, brook really) - 2nd Oct 2019 9:53pm

This was called the River Withert and also discussed here.

Posted By: Excoriator

Re: Lost river (Well, brook really) - 12th Oct 2019 10:08pm

Thanks, everyone for your helpful contributions. It looks very much as if it was the River Withert. I wonder if it got the name from drying up in dry weather - 'withering' in other words.

I find it sad that streams like this disappear and get forgotten about. I suppose when we are all dead and gone and mankind has passed and gone it will eventually reassert itself.

One of the links took me to a mention of the Rubicon. This used to run below Borough road, and in heavy rain was prone to flood. In the 1950s, I think, it was decided to do something about it and at about the junction of Borough Road and Clarence road, there is an underground weir. When the flow gets too high, it overflows the weir and goes into a tunnel leading back up towards Everest Road by the Tranmere Rovers stadium.

It then takes a sharp left and dives through a deep tunnel running 30 metres below Everest road, passes the Sportsman pub and goes below the park until it reaches Albany road at about Inglemere Road. It then runs below Albany road and St Pauls road and comes out into the river underneath the jetty in the oil terminal. The portal can be seen if you are in a small boat on the river.

At least it used to. I suspect it has now been intercepted at the Junction of St Paul's Road and the Rock Ferry bypass and finds its way to the underground pumping station at the bottom of the Dell where it is pumped to Bromborough treatment plant.

We rarely think about the infrastructure that removes our waste and rainwater. Who, sitting in the Sportsman pub of a wet evening is aware that deep below him is a torrential river flowing through a six-foot diameter tunnel on its way to the sea.
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