River Dane

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River Dane
Three Shire.jpg
The Dane at Three Shire Heads
CountiesStaffordshire, Cheshire, Derbyshire
Physical characteristics
 • locationAxe Edge Moor
 • location
Confluence with River Weaver
Basin features
 • leftRiver Croco, River Wheelock

The River Dane is a tributary of the River Weaver that originates in the Peak District area of England. The name of the river (earlier Daven) is probably from the Old Welsh dafn, meaning a "drop or trickle", implying a slow-moving river.[1]


It forms the border between first Cheshire and Derbyshire on the west and east, and then between Cheshire and Staffordshire where it then flows north-west through Cheshire before meeting the Weaver in Northwich.

The river rises close to the source of the River Goyt just to the south west of Buxton, at Dane Head on Axe Edge Moor. Flowing southwest, it forms county borders for around 10 miles (16 km) before flowing west through Congleton and past Holmes Chapel. The point on the river where the three counties meet, at Panniers' Pool Bridge, is called Three Shire Heads (sometimes Three Shires Head).[2] Passing just north of Middlewich, it merges first with the River Croco near the site of the old Roman fort in Harbutt's Field, and then with the River Wheelock near the aqueduct carrying the Trent and Mersey Canal, and runs the remaining 5 miles (8 km) north to Northwich where it flows into the River Weaver.

The River Dane is the longest, cleanest and thought to be the fastest flowing river through Cheshire. The route of the Dane is followed as closely as possible by the Dane Valley Way, a 48-mile (77 km) walking route from Buxton to Northwich.[3]

Although the main river is part of the Mersey catchment and flows into the Irish Sea, a portion of the water can be diverted via canal feeders into Rudyard Lake and subsequently the Caldon Canal. This water discharges eventually into the River Trent and ultimately into the North Sea, having crossed the English watershed.[3]

River Dane
Dane mouth into the River Weaver
A535 at Northwich
Gad Brook
Eldersbriar Brook
Puddlinglake Brook
Peckmill Brook
River Wheelock
Trent and Mersey Canal
River Croco at Middlewich
A50 at Holmes Chapel
Crewe-Manchester Line
Swettenham Brook at Swettenham
Loach Brook
The Howty
A34 at Congleton
Dane in Shaw Brook
Cow Brook
West Coast Main Line
Macclesfield Canal
Ravensclough Brook
Shell Brook
Clough Brook
Black Brook
Flash Brook at Gradbach
Robin's Clough
Three Shires Brook at Three Shires Head
Cumberland Brook
Tinkerspit Gutter
Dane Head on Axe Edge Moor


  • Gad Brook (R)
  • Eldersbriar Brook (L)
  • Puddlinglake Brook (R)
  • River Wheelock (L)
    • Hoggins Brook (L)
    • Fowle Brook (L)
  • River Croco (L)
    • Sanderson's Brook (L)
      • Small Brook (L)
  • Swettenham Brook
    • Midge Brook (Ls)
      • Chapel Brook (R)
        • Dighill Brook (R)
    • Clonter Brook (Rs)
  • Loach Brook
    • Dairy Brook (L)
  • The Howty (L)
  • Dane in Shaw Brook (L)
    • Biddulph Brook
    • Timbers Brook (R)
  • Cow Brook (R)
  • Ravensclough Brook (L)
  • Shell Brook (R)
  • Clough Brook (R)
    • Highmoor Brook (R)
      • Rabb Brook (R)
      • Oaken Brook (R)
    • Cumberland Brook (L)
    • Yarnshaw Brook (L)
      • Correction Brook (L)
    • Tor Brook (R)
  • Black Brook
  • Flash Brook (L)
    • Far Brook (R)
  • Robins Brook (R)
  • Three Shires Brook (L)


Twemlow Viaduct over the River Dane
Hermitage Bridge over the River Dane

A tall red brick railway viaduct, built in 1841, spans the broad Dane Valley between Holmes Chapel and Twemlow. It has 23 arches and is a Scheduled Monument.[4] It crosses the River Dane at Saltersford where Cheshire salt traders drove their horse-drawn carts through a ford along the toll road.[5] Nearby downstream is the small stone Hermitage Bridge built in 1772.[4] Some years the river floods widely across the meadows here.

In 1451 when the River Dane flooded in Congleton, it destroyed the town's corn mill, half of the timber-framed buildings and the wooden bridge over the river. To prevent it happening again the river was diverted away from the town. Congleton's textile industry grew from the 14th-century, with many water-powered mills built along the river by the 18th-century.[6]

Heading downstream: Dane Bridge,[7] Hug Bridge,[8] Lymford Bridge (early 19th century),[9] Macclesfield Canal Aqueduct (1830),[10] Congleton Railway Viaduct (West Coast Main Line, 1849),[11] Colley Mill Bridge,[12] Havannah Bridge (early to mid-19th century, originally leading to a cigar factory),[13] Hermitage Bridge (1772),[14] and Shipbrook Bridge[15] are all Grade II listed.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Watts, Victor, ed. (2010), "Dane", The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names, Cambridge University Press
  2. ^ Walks in the UK Peak District - Axe Edge Moor, Buxton's coal mining district
  3. ^ a b "Dane Valley Way". Long Distance Walkers Association. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  4. ^ a b Historic England. "HERMITAGE BRIDGE (1231268)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  5. ^ Capewell, Annabel (1996). Journey Through Time: Holmes Chapel, Cotton and Cranage. Intec Publishing. ISBN 978-1899319107.
  6. ^ "History of Congleton". Congleton Museum. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  7. ^ Dane Bridge, listed grade II: 1136005
  8. ^ Hug Bridge, listed grade II: 1313053
  9. ^ Lymford Bridge, listed grade II, No 1138904
  10. ^ Macclesfield Canal Dane Aqueduct, listed grade II: 1135940
  11. ^ Congleton Viaduct, listed grade II: 1130485
  12. ^ Colley Mill Bridge, Scheduled monument: 1006772
  13. ^ Havannah Bridge, listed grade II: 1313053
  14. ^ Hermitage Bridge, listed grade II: 1231268
  15. ^ Shipbrook Bridge, listed grade II: 1138432
  16. ^ "Search the List - Find listed buildings | Historic England". historicengland.org.uk. Retrieved 26 March 2020.

Coordinates: 53°15′N 2°31′W / 53.250°N 2.517°W / 53.250; -2.517