Exploring the history around Acton Bridge

Distance: 6 miles

Time: 2 hours

Start: Leigh Arms car park, Warrington Road

NB: Restrictions on space mean this article provides a summary of the route. It is advisable for anyone who plans to follow the walk to take a copy of the relevant Ordnance Survey map A


AS you leave the car park, of the Leigh Arms, which dates to the 16th century, cross the road to the apex of a road triangle where you will see, beside the gate to The Paddock, a footpath sign almost hidden behind a fir bush.

To reach the Trent-and-Mersey Canal, go down this path and over a stile. Walk along the side of a field to a further stile, after which you climb through a coppice and turn left on the towpath.

The canal narrows to pass under the A49.

Leave the towpath at bridge 210 and cross over to follow a bridleway. Cinders have been laid in the muddiest places.

Bear left at the end of this – where the sign indicates – and walk along the hedge parallel with the canal.

The long ridge of the Overton Hills stretches along the skyline.

When you reach a copse drop down through it before bearing right to leave the wood and walk round the field Leave through the gate, turning left down a farm track to cross the canal bridge before continuing down a track to the River Weaver.

Cross the rusted iron stile and turn right.

When you arrive at the white bridge, continue along the towpath to Dutton Locks.

After crossing the river, follow the footpath sign away from the water with the trees on your right.

As you enter a field, keep the hedge on your left and hill on your right, walk to a facing stile, turn right along the muddy cart track to Manor Farm.

A large boulder gives you a leg up into the farmyard, out of which you exit over another stone.

Keep ahead along Cliff Lane, which leads past Willow Cottage to Weaver Holt and, when you come to the T-junction, turn right; the lane drops under the railway.

After this, turn left down a carttrack and bear right up the hill to pass an orchard before climbing over a stile at the track’s end.

This area is Acton Cliff and, as you follow the path across the field, you have a good view of the many arches of Dutton viaduct.

Care is needed as the path can be treacherous as it drops steeply down to Cliff Brook.

Cross the bridge here and climb over the stile ahead to walk over marshy ground.

Keep left over Dane’s Gutter; after which the soft, sandy soil is pock-marked with rabbit holes as the line of alder and oak indicates the way to a gate, where you exit to the road and Poplar Farm.

Turn left, passing Yew Tree Farm and, when the road bears right, turn left again and climb a stile into the right-hand field.

Walk down this meadow to cross Crowton Brook, and then continue alongside Acton Brook until you cross a stile.

Turn away from the brook and keep alongside the hedge until you reach the road.

Crowton village is to your right but turn your back on it to pass Ivy and then Birch House.

Watch out for the left turn down a pot-holed road (signposted Acton Bridge) where the bulk of Frodsham Hill is visible as you walk between neatly clipped hedges to reach Acton Brook.

Keep on past a clump of bamboo to where a yellow arrow shows the way over two stiles, the second leading to a field.

Carry on down the field’s side, turning left over the stile in the corner. Head for a telegraph pole, a tree, and a hedge’s end, before turning right alongside the latter.

You soon reach the busy railway line and cross it with care.

Carry straight ahead across the long field in front of you.

Finally, cross a stile between two gates and keep ahead again to a further stile, from which a grassy track drops down to the road.

Turn right and immediately left between a house and a bungalow; climb over a stile and then drop down the field ahead.

Your journey’s end is in sight.

To get there, cut across the marshy ground to the far righthand corner where there is a sturdy bridge over a stream.

Keep the hedge on your left until it cuts away, and go over a dyke and through any of the large gaps in the hedge.

Make for an iron stile from which steps lead up to the A49.

Turn left along the main road, crossing the bridge to arrive at the Leigh Arms.