Sale Water Park

Sale Water Park is a 152-acre (62 ha) area of countryside and parkland including a 52-acre (21 ha) artificial lake in the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford in Greater Manchester, England.[1] Opened in 1979 and owned by Trafford council, the water park lies in an area of the green belt running through the Mersey river valley between Sale and Stretford, located between the river and the M60 motorway. The lake was formed in the 1970s by the flooding of a gravel pit excavated to provide material for the construction of an embankment raising the motorway 34 feet (10 m) above the Mersey's floodplain.[2] The pit was excavated to a depth of around 115 feet (35 m), making the lake about 90 feet (27 m) deep in places.

The land occupied by the water park was formerly within the grounds of Sale Old Hall, demolished in 1920. All that remains of the hall today is its former lodge, now the club house for Sale Golf Club,[3] and its dovecote, which has been restored and relocated to the nearby Walkden Gardens.

Sale Water Park provides important recreational facilities and wildlife reserves, as well as forming part of the flood defences for the surrounding area of Trafford.

Sale Water Park
Sale Water Park, from the northeast of the lake
TypePublic park
LocationSale, England
Coordinates53°25′55″N 2°17′56″W / 53.432°N 2.299°WCoordinates: 53°25′55″N 2°17′56″W / 53.432°N 2.299°W
Area152 acres (62 ha)
Operated byTrafford Council
StatusOpen all year

Broad Ees Dole

The artificial mud flats

Broad Ees Dole, in the northeast of Sale Water Park, is an important wildlife refuge. Major work was carried out in the 1980s to develop Broad Ees Dole into a wetland area that could be managed to improve the wildlife value of the park, in particular for wild birds, the main lake being too deep to provide food for many bird species.[4] It was officially opened in 1987.

The amount of water entering and leaving the Dole is managed, maintaining its mud flats to make sure they are available for birds like snipe and little ringed plovers throughout the year. Migratory birds like redshank and sandpipers also use the Dole as a resting and feeding place on their route north for the summer. In summer and winter, water is allowed in, to prevent the mud from drying up; in spring and autumn, water is released, to expose the mud.[5]

As well as the wading birds, mallards, coots, moorhens and lapwings nest in the reeds in the marshland surrounding the mud flats. Grey herons and kingfishers are also frequently seen. There are no footpaths through the Dole, but the wildlife can be viewed from the paths around its perimeter.

In 2003 Broad Ees Dole became the first site in Trafford to be recognised by English Nature as a Local Nature Reserve, primarily because of its importance to migratory birds and the diversity of its plant life.[4]

Area around the mud flats

From around 2000, the Dole started to become infested by the alien plant Crassula helmsii, also known as Australian Swamp Stonecrop. The plant began to significantly reduce the value of the nature reserve to wading birds, so in 2005 major work was undertaken to remove it. The Dole was drained, all of the surface soil was removed and the area treated with herbicide before being allowed to return to marshland.[5]

As well as providing a habitat for wild birds the Dole also contains an orchid meadow in which spotted orchids (Dactylorhiza maculata) have established themselves, and there are breeding colonies of smooth and great crested newts.[5]

The etymology of the name Broad Ees Dole perhaps provides a clue to one of the past uses of this area. Ees describes a wetland, and Dole describes a plot of land allocated to the poor.[4]

Flood mitigation

Sale Water Park lies within the floodplain of the River Mersey and plays a significant part in local flood defence.[6] If the water level of the river rises dangerously high, then a weir can be opened to allow water to flow from the river into the water park, where it can be stored until the floodwaters have passed. Sale Water Park is one of a number of similar flood basins in the area. Chorlton Water Park on the north side of the Mersey about 1 mile (1.6 km) upstream is another, along with areas in Didsbury and elsewhere. Monitoring the water level of the river and deciding when to open the sluice gates into the park is the responsibility of the Environment Agency.


Trafford Water Sports Centre is situated on the edge of the lake. It was opened in 1988 and is operated on behalf of Trafford Council originally by Deckers, a private company but since has been taken over by PeakPursuits.[7] The centre provides facilities and training in windsurfing, dinghy sailing and kayaking as well as offering two restaurants. The Sale Water Ski Club is also based at the lake.

The lake is popular with local anglers, containing a wide variety of fresh water fish, such as carp, perch, roach, eel and catfish. Part of the lake has been reserved for the exclusive use of wildlife.

On 7 November 2013 Trafford Council announced that the water sports centre would close on 31 December 2013, and that the contract for maintenance would also end.[7]

The water sport centre has since re-opened for business in April 2014 and now offers an even wider range of water sports/ activities and can be booked via Peak Pursuits.

Since October 2017, Sale Water Park hosts a free, weekly 5 km parkrun event, run along the banks of the River Mersey and partially around the artificial lake



  1. ^ "Appendix J River Mersey Case Study Report". The Countryside Agency. Archived from the original (DOC) on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 27 April 2007.
  2. ^ Hyde, O'Rourke & Portland (2004), p. 45
  3. ^ "Sale Golf Club profile". Sale Golf Club. Archived from the original on 1 May 2007. Retrieved 27 May 2007.
  4. ^ a b c "Broad Ees Dole". Mersey Valley Countryside Warden Service. Archived from the original on 22 February 2007. Retrieved 27 April 2007.
  5. ^ a b c "Broad Ees Dole". Mersey Valley Countryside Warden Service. Archived from the original on 23 February 2007. Retrieved 28 April 2007.
  6. ^ "Mersey Bank Park and the River Mersey". Mersey Valley Countryside Warden Service. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 2 July 2007.
  7. ^ a b "Trafford Water Sports Centre to close due to council cuts". BBC News. 7 November 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2013.


  • Hyde, Matthew; O'Rourke, Aidan; Portland, Peter (2004). Around the M60: Manchester's Orbital Motorway. AMCD (Publishers). ISBN 1-897762-30-5.

External links

Airport Line (Manchester Metrolink)

The Airport Line is a tram line of the Manchester Metrolink in Greater Manchester running from Manchester city centre to Manchester Airport via the suburb of Wythenshawe. The line was opened in November 2014 as part of phase three of the system's expansion.

Baguley tram stop

Baguley tram stop is a tram stop on the Airport Line, built for phase 3B of the Manchester Metrolink to Manchester Airport. It opened on 3 November 2014 and is on Southmoor Road next to Roundthorn Industrial Estate and a Tesco supermarket.It is proposed to link with a proposed station in a future Northern line from Altrincham to Stockport.

Barlow Moor Road tram stop

Barlow Moor Road is a tram stop on the Airport Line of the Manchester Metrolink. It opened on 3 November 2014. and is on the Airport line on Mauldeth Road West next to the junction of Barlow Moor Road.

Benchill tram stop

Benchill is a tram stop for Phase 3b of the Manchester Metrolink. It opened on 3 November 2014. It is on the Airport Line at the Brownley Road/Hollyhedge Road crossroads. A health centre and new sixth form college are also near the stop.

Chorlton Brook

Chorlton Brook is a stream in Greater Manchester, England. It heads westward through Chorlton-cum-Hardy, having been formed at the confluence of Platt Brook and Shaw Brook (or Red Lion Brook), and after passing north of Chorltonville it flows through Chorlton Ees into the River Mersey upstream of Sale Water Park. The Chorlton Brook separated the settlements of Hardy (to the south) and Chorlton (to the north).

Chorlton Ees is an area of floodplain on the right bank of the Mersey once used as water meadow and pasture. Gradually flood control measures were developed to reduce the disruption caused by periodic floods (e.g. the stone weir further down the course). In the 19th century it became an area of waste disposal and the Withington Sewage Farm was established on part of the site of which remains may still be seen. (At that time the area was in Withington Urban District.) The tendency for housing to be needed for an expanding population led to Chorltonville and other much smaller plots encroaching on the meadowland. More recently it has been converted in parts to a nature reserve, Chorlton Ees and Ivy Green Nature Reserve.

Chorltonville recreation area became a private football ground, currently owned by West Didsbury & Chorlton Football Club. In 2009 a proposed development of football pitches and a clubhouse, to provide facilities for local youth, particularly from the social housing estates, became the subject of some local opposition. The development is proposed by the club and has aroused opposition from some local residents. In May 2010 the issue reemerged with a modified proposal from the club which has aroused the same opposition once more.

Crossacres tram stop

Crossacres is a tram stop for the Phase 3B Extension of Greater Manchester's Metrolink system. The stop is part of the Airport Line and is at the junction of Brownley Road and Crossacres Road in the Wythenshawe area of Manchester, England. It opened on 3 November 2014.

Hardy Farm tram stop

Hardy Farm tram stop was a proposed future tram stop on the phase 3b plans to Manchester Airport. It was due to open in 2016 but was dropped from the plans.

Haveley tram stop

Havley tram stop was a proposed tram stop on the phase 3b plans to Manchester Airport. It was originally due to open in 2016 but was dropped from the plans.

Hough End tram stop

Hough End tram stop was a proposed tram stop on the phase 3b plans to Manchester Airport. It was originally due to open in 2016 but was dropped from the plans.

List of places in Greater Manchester

Map of places in Greater Manchester compiled from this list

This is a partial list of places in Greater Manchester, in North West England.

Martinscroft tram stop

Martinscroft is a tram stop for Phase 3b of the Manchester Metrolink. It opened on 3 November 2014. and is on the Airport Line on Hollyhedge Road next to St Martin's Church in Baguley, Wythenshawe.

Northern Moor tram stop

Northern Moor is a tram stop for Phase 3b of the Manchester Metrolink. It opened on 3 November 2014. and is on the Airport Line on Sale Road. The tram stop is on the Northern Moor / Sale Moor border.

Peel Hall tram stop

Peel Hall is a tram stop for Phase 3b of the Manchester Metrolink. The station opened on 3 November 2014 and is on the Airport Line on Simonsway next to the junction of Peel Hall Road. The station serves the Peel Hall district of Wythenshawe, Manchester.

River Mersey

The River Mersey () is a river in the North West of England. Its name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon language and translates as "boundary river". The river may have been the border between the ancient kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria and for centuries it formed part of the boundary between the historic counties of Lancashire and Cheshire.The start of the Mersey is at the confluence of the River Tame and River Goyt in Stockport. It flows westwards through the suburban areas of south Manchester, then into the Manchester Ship Canal at Irlam, becoming a part of the canal and maintaining the canal's water levels. After 4 miles (6.4 km) the river exits the canal, flowing towards Warrington where the river widens. It then narrows as it passes between the towns of Runcorn and Widnes. From Runcorn the river widens into a large estuary, which is 3 miles (4.8 km) across at its widest point near Ellesmere Port. The course of the river then turns north as the estuary narrows between Liverpool and Birkenhead on the Wirral Peninsula to the west, and empties into Liverpool Bay. In total the river flows 70.33 miles (113 km).

A railway tunnel between Birkenhead and Liverpool as part of the Mersey Railway opened in 1886. Two road tunnels pass under the estuary from Liverpool: the Queensway Tunnel opened in 1934 connecting the city to Birkenhead, and the Kingsway Tunnel, opened in 1971, to Wallasey. A road bridge, completed in 1961 and later named the Silver Jubilee Bridge, crosses between Runcorn and Widnes, adjacent to the Runcorn Railway Bridge which opened in 1868. A second road bridge, the Mersey Gateway, opened in October 2017, carrying a six-lane road connecting Runcorn's Central Expressway with Speke Road and Queensway in Widnes. The Mersey Ferry operates between Pier Head in Liverpool and Woodside in Birkenhead and Seacombe, and has become a tourist attraction offering cruises that provide an overview of the river and surrounding areas.

Water quality in the Mersey was severely affected by industrialisation, and in 1985, the Mersey Basin Campaign was established to improve water quality and encourage waterside regeneration. In 2009 it was announced that the river is "cleaner than at any time since the industrial revolution" and is "now considered one of the cleanest in the UK". The Mersey Valley Countryside Warden Service manages local nature reserves such as Chorlton Ees and Sale Water Park. The river gave its name to Merseybeat, developed by bands from Liverpool, notably the Beatles. In 1965 it was the subject of the top-ten hit single "Ferry Cross the Mersey" by Gerry and the Pacemakers.

Roundthorn tram stop

Roundthorn is a tram stop on the Manchester Metrolink network. It opened on 3 November 2014 on the Airport Line, between Southmoor Road and Roundthorn Road. The stop is next to the Roundthorn Industrial Estate and is the closest Metrolink stop to Wythenshawe Hospital.

Sale Water Park tram stop

Sale Water Park is a tram stop for Phase 3b of the Manchester Metrolink. It opened on 3 November 2014. and is on the Airport Line on Rifle Road near the Sale Water Park.The stop has a 300-space car park which is free for Metrolink passengers. Despite this, the stop is one of the least used on the Metrolink network.

Shadowmoss tram stop

Shadowmoss is a tram stop on the Airport Line of the Manchester Metrolink which opened on 3 November 2014.The stop is one of the least used on the Metrolink network.

Woodhouse Park tram stop

Woodhouse Park tram stop was a proposed Metrolink tram stop on the phase 3b plans to Manchester Airport. It was due to open in 2016 but was dropped from plans. The tram stop would have served the Woodhouse Park area of Wythenshawe in Greater Manchester.

Wythenshawe Town Centre tram stop

Wythenshawe Town Centre is a tram stop on the Manchester Metrolink Airport Line. It opened on 3 November 2014. It is in Wythenshawe town centre next to shops, the library and Wythenshawe Forum. A new Wythenshawe bus station was built next to the Metrolink station, which replaced existing stops at the former bus station and Wythenshawe Forum.

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