Leuciscus cephalus

River Tame, Greater Manchester

The River Tame is a river in Greater Manchester, England.


Rises on Denshaw Moor in Greater Manchester, close to the border with West Yorkshire


Most of the rivers catchment lies on the western flank of the Pennines. The named river starts as compensation flow (that is, a guaranteed minimum discharge) from Readycon Dean Reservoir in the moors above Denshaw. The source is a little further north, just over the county border in West Yorkshire, close to the Pennine Way. The highest point of the catchment is Greater Manchester's highest point at Black Chew Head.

It flows south through Delph, Uppermill, Mossley, Stalybridge, Ashton-under-Lyne, Dukinfield, Haughton Green, Denton and Hyde. The section through Stalybridge was once mooted as a diversion route for the restoration of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. For part of its course, the river marks part of the historic boundary between Cheshire and Lancashire.

The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology measures the flow at two points for the National River Flow Archive, at Portwood weir (Stockport) and at Broomstairs weir (Denton). Portwood weir is 2 km above the confluence with the Mersey, and contains the great majority of the final flow (with the exception of waste water from a concrete facility).


It joins the River Goyt at Stockport, forming the River Mersey.


The name Tame is attached to rivers across the UK in several forms, including Thames, Thame, Taff, and Tamar, alongside two other instances of Tame. The name is Celtic in origin, but the meaning is uncertain. Dark river or dark one has been suggested, but Ekwall finds it unlikely; Mills suggests it may simply mean river (c.f. Avon, Humber, Tyne). The names of the Mersey's co-tributaries Etherow and Goyt are equally ancient and mysterious. Mersey is an Old English name (ie more recent) derived from "river at the boundary". The earlier name is lost: Dodgson suggests that Tame may have been the name for the whole of the Mersey.

The Metropolitan Borough of Tameside is named after the river. While it flows through the borough, the river neither rises nor finishes inside its boundaries; however, most of the built-up area alongside the river is in Tameside. Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council uses Tame Valley as shorthand for the wards of Brinnington and Central (ie central Stockport), Reddish North, and Reddish South.


The fish species present vary along the river's length. The lower reaches (near Reddish Vale Country Park) are home to coarse fish such as gudgeon (Gobio gobio), chub (Leuciscus cephalus), and roach (Rutilus rutilus); pike (Esox lucius) and perch (Perca fluviatilis) are also present. The upper reaches (above Ashton) support brown trout (Salmo trutta) and smaller numbers of some coarse fish. The populations are self-sustaining. Furthermore,

  • Carr Brook (from its source to the Tame)
  • Diggle Brook (from Diggle Reservoir to the Tame)
  • Hull Brook (Head of Lower Castleshaw Reservoir to the Tame)
  • Swineshaw Brook (from the Head of Swineshaw Reservoir to the Tame)
  • and the Tame (from the Head of Readycon Dean Reservoir to foot of New Years Bridge Reservoir)

are all declared as salmonid waters by statute, and as such have set physical and chemical water quality objectives.

Hull brook is a SBI. Hull Brook and Castleshaw reservoir have populations of white-clawed crayfish. The river is now clean enough in principle to support otter, but none were found in a survey in 2000–2002.

See also




  • (1962). Manchester and its region : a survey prepared for the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science held in Manchester August 29 to September 5 1962. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • Arrowsmith, Peter (1997). Stockport : a history. Stockport: Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.
  • Holden, Roger N. (1998). Stott & Sons : architects of the Lancashire cotton mill. Lancaster: Carnegie.
  • Williams, Mike; D A Farnie (1992). Cotton mills in Greater Manchester. Preston: Carnegie.
  • Greater Manchester Council (1981). Tame Valley : report of survey and issues. Greater Manchester Council.

External links

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