The River Dee forms a big loop to the south of the city centre. A fleet of boats run regular cruises along the river during the summer months. I did the 30 minute cruise aboard the Mark Twain, departing from the Groves, close to the city walls and the C14th Old Dee Bridge.
The Mark Twain had originally worked as a paddle boat on the River Thames and resembled a Mississippi steamboat. She has been based in Chester since 1987. The paddle has been replaced and she now has a covered upper deck. She is still a very stylish boat.
The cruise travels upstream, under the pedestrian suspension bridge. To the left, on the city side are large and very expensive C19th houses built for the rich and famous. Many of these have gardens down to the river with small boat houses or moorings on the river.
Several rowing clubs based here, including the Royal Chester Rowing Club and King’s School Rowing Club, which are among the oldest in the country. “Chester Regatta”:http://www.chesterregatta.org/ is the oldest in Britain, having been held here since 1733.
The land on the opposite bank is water meadows and is still prone to winter flooding. It is covered with water loving plants like purple loosestrife and meadow sweet. The river is wide and slow flowing, with patches of yellow water lilies. There are mallards and swans on the river, although the numbers of swans have decreased in recent years.
The River Dee is a “‘managed water system'”:http:// https://naturalresources.wales/media/679703/river-dee-regulation-leaflet.pdf and flow is controlled by reservoirs, allowing water to be extracted without affecting the flow.
The boat turns round at the city limit for the return journey.
Returning to the mooring at The Grove, there is a good view of the Old Dee bridge. Weirs beyond this provided power for corn mills and now prevent boats from travelling downstream
There was an informative commentary during the trip. It was a very pleasant trip and not too long.