Natural Features

Ditton Brook

Aerial photograph of the Ditton Brook area

Ditton Brook makes up the northern boundary of Halewood, and flows in a south-westerly direction before flowing out into the River Mersey between the town of Ditton and Hale Bank. Along with the River Alt, this river flows down a valley carved out when glacial ice pushed south from what is now the Irish Sea.

The archaeology of Ditton Brook

The Ditton Brook valley has been an important area of human settlement for thousands of years. Excavations have revealed the remains of half-finished stone tools in a settlement used around 4-5000 years BC.

In addition to the tools evidence was found of a fire (part of a temporary camp) and food preparation. As Ditton Brook was a source of fresh water, it would have naturally attracted settlers.

Where the stream runs into the Mersey, the slower water would have been a protected haven for fishing in the wider waters of the larger river. The area would have benefitted from both salt and fresh water fish from the two rivers.

In more recent years the brook has flowed through the industrial areas of Widnes and Ditton. The channel has been straightened just before it reaches the Mersey. The area has become more polluted, and St. Michael’s Municipal Golf Course was closed due to arsenic poisoning.

Further Reading

Museum of Liverpool’s Ditton Brook Project

6 Comments on “Ditton Brook”

  • Brian Bason


    Did Ditton Brook ever connect to the River Alt in the distant past ?


    • Martin


      Hi Brian,

      The Ditton and Alt run in the same valley, but in opposite directions, so they might once have had their sources closer together, but would never have joined.



  • David Johnston


    Hi is it possible to go fishing in Ditton Brook?


  • Brenda owens


    When I bought my house next to Our Lady’s school Clincton View Widnes. There was an old stream/brook running next to. The school what was it called if any.

    Used to be old boundary with Tarbock. Thanks


    • Hi Brenda,

      I’ve had a quick look on the old maps and it doesn’t look like it has a name. It follows the edges of fields down to Ditton Brook, so I wonder whether it was just part of the drainage scheme, though where I currently live in Bristol there are many ditches like this with named.

      On a side note it looks like it’s still a boundary – between Knowsley and Halton.

      Best wishes,


  • Michael


    A kingfisher has territory close to where the brook meets the mersey, spotted twice in 1 week.


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