A NEW viewing point has opened at a beauty spot along the Mersey.

The public viewing station at Woolston Lock offers ‘splendid views of the river and its abundant wildlife’.

Opened to boat traffic in 1821 at the eastern end of the New Cut Canal, Woolston Lock is located at the bottom of Weir Lane – close to the Thelwall Viaduct.

And its heritage and archaeological has now been ‘preserved for generations to come’ thanks to the Environment Agency and New Cut Heritage and Ecology Trail Group scheme.

They have previously worked in partnership to preserve the western end of the New Cut Canal at Paddington Lock.

New Cut Heritage and Ecology Trail Group chairman Kevin Price said: “As soon as we visited the site with the Environment Agency, it was clear that this was a glorious opportunity to develop something special for all the community and interest groups.

“The river, once little more than an open sewer, is now a real attraction for Warrington – with much improved access for all to enjoy, and it demonstrates how voluntary groups working in partnership with statutory agencies can create something special.”

Regeneration work has also paid homage to Old Billy, the world’s oldest horse who was born close to the site and worked pulling boats along the Mersey and Irwell Navigation.

A newly-installed brass plaque at Woolston Lock commemorates the barge horse, who was believed to be 62 years old when he died in 1822.

Positioned at the junction of the New Cut Canal and the footpath linking Weir Lane with Woolston Eyes and the Manchester Ship Canal, it is hoped that the viewing point will prove popular among walkers and cyclists – the area being ‘alive with wildlife and trees’.