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River Sow
River Sow, looking downstream - - 762907.jpg
River Sow near Milford
Country United Kingdom
Country within the UK England
Counties Staffordshire
Towns Eccleshall, Stafford
Villages Great Bridgeford, Milford, Tixall
Physical characteristics
Main source Broughton, Staffordshire
52°54′02″N 2°21′55″W / 52.9006°N 2.3654°W / 52.9006; -2.3654
River mouth Confluence with the Trent near Essex Bridge, Staffordshire
52°48′03″N 2°00′32″W / 52.8008°N 2.0089°W / 52.8008; -2.0089
Length 38 km (24 mi)
Basin features
Basin size 601 km2 (232 sq mi)
  • Left:
    Brockton Brook, Meece Brook
  • Right:
    Doxey Brook, River Penk
Progression : Sow — TrentHumberNorth Sea

The River Sow is a tributary of the River Trent in Staffordshire, England, and is the river that flows through Stafford.


The river rises to the south of Loggerheads, near to Broughton and flows south-east beside the small settlements of Fairoak, Bishop’s Offley and Walk Mill until it reaches Cop Mere. To the east of the Mere the river is joined by the Brockton Brook before it flows past Eccleshall and its castle where it is crossed by the A519. The Sow continues in a south-easterly direction, passing Chebsey, it is then joined by the Meece Brook before it reaches the mill at Worston and then Little and Great Bridgeford. The river then flows through the nature reserve of Doxey Marshes until it reaches Stafford, where it flows through Victoria park. Beyond the town at Baswich the Sow is joined by its largest tributary the River Penk, it then continues beneath the bridge between Milford and Tixall until it flows through the grounds of Shugborough Hall to meet the Trent near Essex Bridge.


Between 1816 and the 1920s, the section between Stafford and Baswich was navigable, and was known as the River Sow Navigation. There are plans to restore it, which are being spearheaded by a community interest company called Stafford Riverway Link.


The river was tested in 2009 and had pH levels of 7.6. Oxygen saturation levels at the source of the river are 68%. Fish species found in the river include Chub, Roach, Pike and Bream.

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