Acton Bridge and its surrounding hamlets were amalgamated in 1967 under Acton (near Weaverham).

In 1837 a station was built at this tiny hamlet known as Acton Cliffe, and in those days, the importance of the railway was to carry goods.

So, siting it nearer to the larger Weaverham, as they could easily have done, was secondary to its primary task of serving the farming community it is called Acton Bridge Station.

As the stations were built along the new railway route, they invariably built hotels to serve their customers.

Acton Bridge was no exception, and in 1841 a farmhouse nearby was converted and named The Railway Hotel.

In those early days, people would come from the smoky cities to spend holidays at the pub to explore the beautiful Cheshire countryside.

The regular train service from Liverpool and the busy Crewe railway hub made the journey easy.

Northwich Guardian: Acton station and marshalling yardActon station and marshalling yard

Eventually, the name Railway Hotel went out of favour, and most pubs of that name saw it changed.

One of the commonest pears in the area was the Hazel or Hessle Pear, and there was an orchard at the rear of the pub.

So, in 1972, the pub’s name was changed to The Hazel Pear. The Woodland Trust has overseen the planting of a wood off Station Road which has been given the name Hazel Pear Wood.

Arthur Garner and his wife had the pub through the bleak years of World War II, and the story goes that Mrs Garner served a double whisky to General Patton as he waited in the field opposite the pub with his troops to board the train at Acton Bridge.

He knocked it back and asked her for another. She refused; pointing out that it was rationed as there was a war on!

Northwich Guardian: Acton BridgeActon Bridge

The ivory-handled pistols and the four silver stars on this most outspoken of US generals did not faze this country landlady!

Acton Bridge station has escaped the Beeching cuts, although the small marshalling yard has gone.

Acton Cliffe is now a small community with views down to Acton Bridge and the River Weaver.

Northwich Guardian: Acton stone bridgeActon stone bridge

Two small Cheshire communities are separated by the river but linked by a name. Below is another small community on the busy A49 where the main road crosses the River Weaver via the Acton Swing Bridge.

As shown in the photograph, the stone bridge at Acton was the original bridge over the river and the route of what is now the A49.

Northwich Guardian: The Hazel Pear Inn at Acton BridgeThe Hazel Pear Inn at Acton Bridge

When the river was made navigable from Frodsham to Winsford, a separate cut was inserted to carry shipping, and a swing bridge was installed over it.

You can still see evidence of this bridge on both sides of the river by the Leigh Arms garden; the bridge is shown in the old photograph.

When Dutton Locks were being built, the licensee of the present Leigh Arms was Henry Bowers, who took over the licence in 1871 from his mother.

One night he took his dog for a walk by the river, and it was his last walk on this earth.

The following morning his battered body was found floating against the lock; his dog was not found!

Northwich Guardian: Dutton LocksDutton Locks

The murder was never detected, even by the special constables who had been brought in from Northwich to patrol the area and control the carousing navvies.

The present swing bridge was opened on November 27, 1933; at this time, the road was also re-aligned, and the old stone bridge simply led to the small island now used as a mooring and boatyard.