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Major Rivers Of England

England is a land of exquisite waterways and the lush vegetation that surround these. In addition to their natural beauty, however, the country’s rivers fulfil many useful and necessary requirements. Although there are hundreds of rivers that meander across England’s landscape, the following are its most important and significant:

•The Thames •The Tyne •The Mersey •The Severn •The Trent •The Humber •The Yorkshire Ouse •The Dee •The Avon



A view of the river Derwent passing through lush, green countryside near Rosthwaite, England.

Of these, the Thames River, Mersey River and Tyne River are of utmost importance due to their important ports, while the Severn River features as the longest river flowing through England (at 354 kilometres). Still, at eight kilometres shorter, the Thames remains the longest river that is situated entirely in the country.

The River Thames
This river’s source is in Gloucestershire, but it passes through the southern England counties of Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey, Essex, Kent and Greater London too.

At 346 kilometres, it is an impressive icon of England, known the world over for its extent and usage. The Thames’ basin measures 12 935 square kilometres (just under 5000 square miles). Its port is situated in London.


The Thames River flows out into the North Sea. It is tidal in places, particularly in the area of London, where its levels can rise and fall by up to about seven metres.

The river is fed by more than 20 smaller tributaries and is home to over 80 individual islands. Because it has areas of both sea water and fresh water, the Thames is home to a wide range of fauna and flora. In addition, this major waterway has supported human life for millennia. Water is essential to survival and the Thames’ ample supply has provided ancient and modern cultures with a source of food and power.

The Mersey River
The Mersey River is important due to its having a port in the city of Liverpool. It is approximately 112 kilometres (or 70 miles) long and passes through the counties of Merseyside and Cheshire. Its basin measures 4 680 square kilometres, which equals about 1 807 square miles. This river is made up of three major tributaries; namely the rivers Goyt, Etherow and Tame. Officially and according to modern definitions, the Mersey begins where the Tame River and the Goyt River converge.

For hundreds of years, the Mersey River formed the divide between the counties of Cheshire and Lancashire.

Although it had a history of pollution and severe damage to its water quality, the Mersey is now known as one of the cleanest rivers in all of England, due to extensive efforts that were made in this regard. It even supports marine life now and its salmon population is of particular interest to locals and tourists alike.

The Tyne River
This river’s main source is situated in Alston Moor, while its mouth is in South Shields. It measures 100 kilometres (or 62 miles) in length and its basin is 2 145 square kilometres (or 828 square miles) in area. The Tyne River is formed by the coming together or the North Tyne and South Tyne rivers, which converge in Northumberland.

During the 1200’s, the Tyne River was a major transport medium for coal as it was situated right in the heart of the coalmining district in North East England. Despite ebbs and lows in this industry, the Tyne continues to play a crucial role in coal imports.

The Severn River
The Severn River is the longest river that flows through England and measures 354 kilometres or 220 miles in length. Its basin has an area of 11 420 square kilometres or 4 409 square miles. This river passes through the middle of Wales as well as the West Midlands and South West England.

The Severn River is fed by the following tributaries:

•Warwickshire Avon
•Bristol Avon

The Severn River flows out into the Bristol Channel and then into the Celtic Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

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