The site forms the northern extent of Sankey Valley Country Park; stretching south through St Helens and into Warrington along the St Helens (or Sankey) Canal, which eventually reaches the River Mersey at Spike Island in Widnes. Known as the Sankey Navigation, the St Helens Canal was built in 1755 to link the south Lancashire coalfields to the markets of Liverpool and Cheshire. It was the first canal in England and subsequently brought about the growth and industrial development of St Helens.
Black Brook was canalised to provide a water supply for the Sankey Canal around 1757. The canal infrastructure has declined since its closure in 1963 resulting in the breaking down of walling and partial reclamation by nature, particularly through fluvial processes. This has resulted in an extremely valuable mix of habitats, heritage and landscape character along a popular recreational area. A long term strategy needs to ensure that this balance is maintained and enhanced.
Stanley Bank was, and still is, being developed as a heritage and education destination through a partnership including Sankey Canal Restoration Society, Groundwork Merseyside, the Environment Agency, Mersey Industrial Heritage Society and St Helens Council.
Approximate Map Location
The Environment Partnership (TEP) Limited
St Helen's, Merseyside
St Helen's Council
Waterways and wetlands
Highly Commended LI Awards 2013, Science, Management and Stewardship category
To develop a sustainable and innovative management plan for the StanleyBank reach of the Black Brook, addressing access, biodiversity, heritage and Hydrology/Flooding.
Environmental Consultants: The Environment Partnership (TEP)
St Helen's Council
The National Lottery/Heritage Lottery Fund | Environment Agency |
The Stanley Bank reach of Black Brook is prone to periodic flooding which causes severe erosion to the riparian footpath creating risk to walkers, damage to habitats and increased revenue costs. Flooding is likely to increase due to more extreme weather, warmer wetter winters and intense rainfall.