It rises at Featherbed Moss in South Yorkshire, then broadens into the Longdendale chain of reservoirs in the Peak District National Park. It emerges again in Tintwistle, Derbyshire, at the foot of Bottoms Reservoir dam, and at Melandra Castle, Gamesley, it is joined by the Glossop Brook (which takes in waters from Shelf, Yellowstacks and chunal).
It enters Tameside at Hollingworth in the foothills of the Pennines. It passes through Stockport and the Etherow Country Park, then joins the River Goyt. The River Tame also joins the Goyt, and all three form the River Mersey.