The town of Sale is part of Trafford Council and lies about five miles south west of the city of Manchester on the main A56 route to Chester. Historically, it was part of the English county of Cheshire and, in fact, its postal address is still 'Sale, Cheshire'.
Sale has a number of important geographical and historical features.
The town is linked to the main waterway networks in the North West by the famous Bridgewater Canal which reached Sale in 1765 on its route to Manchester from the mines at Worsley. The canal runs through the very heart of Sale, is home to Sale Cruising Club and offers a pleasant, relaxed environment in which to watch the boats go by. Sale is bisected in a roughly north to south direction by the Roman Watling Street, which, today, as Cross Street and Washway Road, forms the A56 main route between Manchester and Chester. Fourthly, and most importantly, Sale lies on the former Manchester South Junction and Altrincham railway line which reached the town in 1849, linking it to Manchester and acting as a catalyst for its growth.
In Roman times Watling Street was a part of the route from Mamucium (Manchester) to Deva (Chester). Until the 1930s, the area to the west of this road was known as Ashton-on-Mersey, whilst that to the east constituted Sale and Sale Moor. Today the name Sale is applied to the whole area, including Sale Moor and Ashton-on-Mersey, although both those names are still in use for particular parts of Sale.
The M60 motorway clips the northern part of Sale on its way to Stockport from the west. Both Ashton-on-Mersey and Sale Moor have their own 'village' centres, in addition to the shopping and other commercial facilities of the main Sale town centre, which lies around the A56, School Road, Ashfield Road, Tatton Road and Northenden Road.