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Cheshire Plain from the Mid Cheshire Ridge

Cheshire shown within England

Cheshire showing four unitary authorities

Flag of Cheshire.svg

Cheshire (/ˈɛʃər, -ɪər/ CHESH-ər, -⁠eer; (Welsh: Sir Gaer) archaically the County Palatine of Chester) is a county in North West England, bordering Merseyside and Greater Manchester to the north, Derbyshire to the east, Staffordshire and Shropshire to the south, and Flintshire and Wrexham County Borough in Wales to the west. Cheshire's county town is the City of Chester (118,200); the largest town is Warrington (209,700). Other major towns include Crewe (71,722), Runcorn (61,789), Widnes (61,464), Ellesmere Port (55,715), Macclesfield (52,044), Winsford (32,610) and Northwich (19,924).

The county covers 905 square miles (2,344 km2) and has a population of around 1 million. It is mostly rural, with a number of small towns and villages supporting the agricultural and other industries which produce Cheshire cheese, salt, chemicals and silk.

Selected article

Anderton Boat Lift on the River Weaver

The River Weaver flows in a curving route of just over 50 miles (80 km) anti-clockwise across the west of Cheshire from a source in the Peckforton Hills. Improvements to make the river navigable were authorised in 1720; the work, which included eleven locks, was completed in 1732. The navigation was completely reconstructed between 1870 and 1900, with the original locks being replaced by five much larger ones. The major trade was salt.

The Anderton Boat Lift (pictured), near Northwich, links the Weaver with the Trent and Mersey Canal some 50 feet (15 m) above. Opened in 1875, it remained in use for over 100 years. It reopened after renovation in 2002 and is one of only two working boat lifts in the UK. Many other structures are of historical importance, including the Hayhurst swing bridge and Northwich Town bridge, believed to be the earliest swing bridges powered by electricity. Dutton Horse Bridge is one of the earliest surviving laminated timber structures.

Selected image

Shutlingsloe from the Macclesfield Forest path

Sometimes referred to as "the Matterhorn of Cheshire", Shutlingsloe is the county's third highest peak, with an elevation of 506 metres. In the east of the county, it stands on the edge of the Peak District, near Macclesfield Forest.

Credit: Ian Warburton (4 March 2006)

In the news

3 April: East Cheshire NHS Trust requests donations of medical scrubs on Twitter for Macclesfield Hospital.

17–19 March: The Storyhouse theatre in Chester, the Lyceum Theatre in Crewe, and The Brindley theatre in Runcorn all close for a temporary period.

18 March: Cases of novel coronavirus are confirmed across Cheshire, including Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Warrington and Halton.

13 March: The Queen's planned visit to Crewe and Macclesfield on 19 March has been postponed owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

10 March: Unilever announces that it plans to close its washing powder plant in Warrington, threatening more than 120 jobs.

25 February: Cransley School in Great Budworth closes for a week to reduce any possible risk of novel coronavirus spreading after pupils returning from a holiday in Bormio, northern Italy had respiratory symptoms.

18 February: Stanlow Refinery at Ellesmere Port is one of two British plants to share a government grant to begin manufacturing hydrogen as a low-emission industrial fuel.

21 January: Halton Transport, which provides bus services in Runcorn, Warrington and Widnes, has entered liquidation after making losses of £620,000 in 2019.

16 January: A stretch of Chester's Roman walls collapses due to excavations from adjacent building work.

Selected list

Sandbach Town Hall and Market Hall

The 78 listed buildings in Sandbach include two at Grade I, two at Grade II* and the remainder at Grade II. By far the earliest listed structures are the two 9th-century Sandbach Crosses, recorded in the town in the mid-16th century and reinstalled in the Market Square in 1816. The other Grade-I-listed building is Old Hall Hotel, a timber-framed building dating from 1656, on the site of a former manor house. Another timber-framed building is the Grade-II*-listed Black Bear Inn, which dates from 1634. Several buildings in and around Sandbach are by the Victorian architect George Gilbert Scott, in the Tudor and Gothic Revival styles. These include Sandbach School and its lodge, the Literary Institute and a set of almshouses. He rebuilt the Grade-II*-listed St Mary's Church in Sandbach, and designed St John the Evangelist's Church in Sandbach Heath. Sandbach Town Hall and Market Hall (pictured) was designed by Thomas Bower in 1889.

The Trent and Mersey Canal runs through the parish and several listed buildings are associated with it, including bridges, locks, mileposts, accommodation for canal workers, a stable and ticket office, and a warehouse. More unusual listed structures include three war memorials, a drinking fountain and a telephone kiosk.


Top: Map of modern Cheshire showing urban areas (grey) and the major road network. Chester (red) is the county town, and Warrington has the greatest population. Towns with more than 10,000 inhabitants in 2011 are highlighted; the size of dot gives a rough indication of the relative population. Wales and the adjacent English counties are shown in capitals.

Bottom: Relief map showing the major hills. The Mid Cheshire Ridge is a discontinuous ridge of low hills running north–south from Beacon Hill (north of Helsby Hill) to Bickerton Hill. Most other high ground falls within the Peak District in the east of the county. Shining Tor (559 metres), on the boundary with Derbyshire, forms the county's high point.


Cheshire West and ChesterCheshire EastCheshire EastCheshire EastHaltonWarringtonCheshire unitary number.png
About this image

The ceremonial county of Cheshire is administered by four unitary authorities (click on the map for details):

1 – Cheshire West and Chester

2 – Cheshire East

3 – Warrington

4 – Halton

In the local government reorganisation of 1974, Cheshire gained an area formerly in Lancashire including Widnes and Warrington. The county lost Tintwistle to Derbyshire, part of the Wirral Peninsula to Merseyside, and a northern area including Stockport, Altrincham, Sale, Hyde, Dukinfield and Stalybridge to Greater Manchester.

Selected biography

Michael Owen in 2010

Michael James Owen (born 14 December 1979) is a former English football player who played as a striker. Born in Chester, his father Terry Owen was a professional footballer who played for Chester City and Everton.

Owen enjoyed a hugely successful and high-profile career at both club and international level, and in 2001 became one of a handful of English players to win the Ballon d'Or. As of 2019, he is fifth in the list of all-time top scorers for the England team and is England's eleventh most-capped player, having scored 26 competitive goals – formerly a national record – with 40 in total from 89 appearances (1998–2008). Pace and clinical finishing were Owen's greatest assets early in his career, though he later lost pace due to injuries.

In club football, he played for Liverpool (1996–2004), Real Madrid (2004–5), Newcastle United (2005–9), Manchester United (2009–12) and Stoke City (2012–13). He retired from football in 2013. He has subsequently owned and bred racehorses, and acts as a sports commentator and pundit.

Did you know...

Chester Castle

Selected town or village

The former Hovis mill on the Macclesfield Canal

Macclesfield is a market town on the River Bollin, in the east of the county on the edge of the Cheshire Plain, with Macclesfield Forest to its east. The population in 2011 was somewhat over 50,000.

Before the Norman Conquest, the manor was held by Edwin, Earl of Mercia and was assessed at £8. It is recorded in the Domesday Book as "Maclesfeld", meaning "Maccel's open country". The medieval town grew up on the hilltop around what is now St Michael's Church. It was granted a charter by the future Edward I in 1261. Macclesfield Grammar School was founded in 1502. The town had a silk-button industry from at least the middle of the 17th century, and became a major silk-manufacturing centre from the mid-18th century. The Macclesfield Canal was constructed in 1826–31. Hovis breadmakers were another Victorian employer (former mill pictured). Modern industries include pharmaceuticals. Multiple mill buildings are still standing, and several of the town's museums explore the local silk industry. Other landmarks include Georgian buildings such as the Town Hall and former Sunday School; St Alban's Church, designed by Augustus Pugin; and the Arighi Bianchi furniture shop.

In this month

Rowton Moor Memorial Stone

September 1707: Physician Nathan Alcock born at Aston.

1 September 1858: Crewe and Shrewsbury Railway opened.

1 September 1876: Activist and editor Harriet Shaw Weaver born in Frodsham.

1 September 2007: Cheshire Regiment merged into the Mercian Regiment.

7 September 1917: Pilot and charity founder Leonard Cheshire born in Chester.

8 September 1949: Bernard Lovell and Charles Husband first meet at Jodrell Bank to discuss the 250-ft radio telescope.

14 September 1804: Landowner and poet Rowland Egerton-Warburton born in Norley.

16 September 1947: Comedian Russ Abbot born in Chester.

21 September 1642: Charles I brought his army to Chester during the Civil War.

24 September 1645: Battle of Rowton Heath (memorial pictured).

29 September 1908: Cheshire County Cricket Club founded.


The ayr is very wholesome, insomuch that the people of the countrey are seldom infected with Diseases or Sicknesse, neither do they use the help of the Physicians, nothing so much, as in other countries: For when any of them are sick, they make him a posset, and tye a kerchieff on his head; and if that will not amend him, then God be merciful to him! The people there live till they be very old; some are Grandfathers, their Fathers yet living; and some are Grandfathers before they be married.

From The Vale Royall of England by Daniel King (1656)



Towns & Districts CHESHIRE | PLACES | CIVIL PARISHES | BY POPULATION | Alsager | Bollington | Chester | Congleton | Crewe | Ellesmere Port | Frodsham | Knutsford | Lymm | Macclesfield | Middlewich | Nantwich | Neston | Northwich | Poynton | Runcorn | Sandbach | Warrington | Widnes | Wilmslow | Winsford | Wirral
Geography & Ecology GEOLOGY | Cheshire Plain | Geology of Alderley Edge | HILLS | Bickerton Hill | Peckforton Hills | Shining Tor | Shutlingsloe | Tegg's Nose | Windgather Rocks | RIVERS & LAKES | Lamaload Reservoir | River Bollin | River Dane | River Dean | River Dee | River Gowy | River Goyt | River Mersey | River Weaver | SITES OF SPECIAL SCIENTIFIC INTEREST | Cheshire Wildlife Trust | rECOrd | WOODLAND | Delamere Forest | Macclesfield Forest | Northwich Woodlands
History HISTORY | TIMELINE | [Agricultural history | Ancient parishes | History of Chester | Deva Victrix | History of Middlewich | History of salt in Middlewich | History of Northwich | History of Sandbach | Forests of Mara and Mondrem | ARCHAEOLOGY | SCHEDULED MONUMENTS: Pre-1066 | 1066–1539 | Post-1539 | Bridestones | Chester Roman Amphitheatre | Eddisbury hill fort | Lindow Man | Maiden Castle | Sandbach Crosses | MILITARY HISTORY | Battle of Brunanburh | Battle of Chester | First Battle of Middlewich | Battle of Nantwich | Battle of Rowton Heath | Bunbury Agreement | Cheshire Regiment | RAF Burtonwood | RAF Hooton Park | RAF Ringway
Sights PLACES OF INTEREST | CASTLES | Beeston Castle | Chester Castle | Cholmondeley Castle | Halton Castle | HISTORIC BUILDINGS | Adlington Hall | Arley Hall | Combermere Abbey | Dorfold Hall | Eaton Hall | Gawsworth Old Hall | Little Moreton Hall | Lyme Park | Norton Priory | Tatton Park | MUSEUMS & VISITOR ATTRACTIONS | Anderton Boat Lift | Anson Engine Museum | Blue Planet Aquarium | Catalyst Science Discovery Centre | Chester Zoo | Crewe Heritage Centre | Cuckooland Museum | Grosvenor Museum | Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker | Jodrell Bank Observatory | Lion Salt Works | National Waterways Museum | Quarry Bank Mill | Stretton Watermill | Warrington Museum | Weaver Hall Museum  | PUBLIC PARKS | Grosvenor Park | Marbury Country Park | Ness Botanic Gardens | Queens Park
Architecture ARCHITECTURE | Norman architecture | LISTED BUILDINGS | Grade I listed churches | Non-ecclesiastical grade I listed buildings outside Chester | Chester | Congleton | Frodsham | Great Budworth | Knutsford | Lymm | Macclesfield | Nantwich | Neston | Runcorn | Sandbach | Warrington | Wilmslow
Sport & Recreation SPORTING TEAMS | Alsager Town F.C. | Chester F.C. | Chester City F.C. | Cheshire County Cricket Club | Cheshire Phoenix | Crewe Alexandra F.C. | Crewe Railroaders | Macclesfield Town F.C. | Nantwich Town F.C. | 1874 Northwich F.C. | Northwich Victoria F.C. | Runcorn Linnets F.C. | Vauxhall Motors F.C. | Warrington Town F.C. | Warrington Wolves | Widnes Vikings | Winsford United F.C. | Witton Albion F.C. | SPORTING VENUES | Chester Racecourse | Oulton Park | County Cricket Club grounds | RECREATION | Walks
Economy ECONOMY | Agriculture | Cheshire cheese | Cheshire Show | Crewe Railway Works | Salt | Silk | Textile mills 
Transport BUSES | Arriva | CANALS | Cheshire Ring | Bridgewater Canal | Ellesmere Canal | Llangollen Canal | Macclesfield Canal | Manchester Ship Canal | Shropshire Union Canal | RAIL | Birkenhead Railway | Chester–Manchester Line | Crewe railway station | Crewe–Derby Line | Crewe–Manchester Line | Ellesmere Port–Warrington Line | Mid-Cheshire Line | Welsh Marches Line | ROADS | A34 | A41 | A49 | A50 | A56 | A500 | A537 | A556 | M6 | M53 | M56
Governance UNITARY AUTHORITIES | Cheshire East | Cheshire West and Chester | Halton | Warrington | PARLIAMENTARY CONSTITUENCIES | EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
Education, Health & Services SCHOOLS | HIGHER EDUCATION | University of Chester | University of Law | Reaseheath College | HEALTH | Countess of Chester Hospital | Halton General Hospital | Leighton Hospital | Macclesfield Hospital | Warrington Hospital | PRISONS | HMP Risley | HMP Styal | HMP Thorn Cross | SERVICES | Fire and Rescue | Police | United Utilities
 Culture & Media LITERATURE | Cheshire Cat | Cheshire dialect | THEATRE | The Brindley | Lyceum Theatre | Storyhouse | CONCERT HALLS | Parr Hall | NEWSPAPERS | Chester Chronicle | Crewe Chronicle | RADIO | BBC Radio Manchester | BBC Radio Merseyside | BBC Radio Stoke
 Religion RELIGION | CHURCHES | Bishop of Chester | Chester Cathedral | Diocese of Chester | Roman Catholic Diocese of Shrewsbury

Recommended articles

Towns & Villages Bradwall | Middlewich | Runcorn | Widnes
Sights Adlington Hall | All Saints' Church, Runcorn | Beeston Castle | Capesthorne Hall | Chester Cathedral | Chester Rows | Cholmondeley Castle | Churche's Mansion | Crewe Hall | Darnhall Abbey | Eaton Hall | Gawsworth Old Hall | Goat tower | Jodrell Bank Observatory | Little Moreton HallFeatured article | Lovell Telescope | Lyme Park | Norton PrioryFeatured article | Peckforton Castle | Rode Hall | St Mary's Church, Acton | St Mary's Church, Astbury | St Mary's Church, Nantwich | St Mary's Church, Nether Alderley | Tabley House | Vale Royal Abbey
History Battle of Brunanburh | Battle of Rowton Heath | Deva Victrix | Dispute between Darnhall and Vale Royal Abbey | Eddisbury hill fort | Lindow ManFeatured article | Maiden Castle
Geography & Transport Bridgewater Canal | Chester Canal | Manchester Ship CanalFeatured article | Northern EnglandFeatured article | Peak District | River Weaver
People Jonathan AgnewFeatured article | Muthu Alagappan | Ben Amos | Adrian BoultFeatured article | Thomas Brassey | Neil BrooksFeatured article | Sir John Brunner, 1st Baronet | James ChadwickFeatured article | Djibril Cissé | Daniel Craig | John DouglasFeatured article | Rowland Egerton-Warburton | Thomas Harrison | Reginald HeberFeatured article | Eddie Johnson | Margaret Ursula Jones | Levi Mackin | One Direction | Peter, Abbot of Vale Royal | Plegmund | Joseph PriestleyFeatured article | Mark Roberts | Nick Robinson | Edmund SharpeFeatured article | Robert Tatton | Stuart Tomlinson | Alan Turing | William Windsor
Lists CastlesFeatured article | Church restorations, amendments and furniture by John DouglasFeatured article | Grade I listed churchesFeatured article | Houses and associated buildings by John DouglasFeatured article | Listed buildings in Runcorn (rural area)Featured article | Listed buildings in Runcorn (urban area)Featured article | Listed buildings in WidnesFeatured article | New churches by John DouglasFeatured article | Non-ecclesiastical and non-residential works by John DouglasFeatured article

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