Welcome to Acton Bridge

The Hazel Pear Tree, and Aston Town Pear

A few words and pictures about the village's characteristic fruit trees

Update 28. February 2013 - we have been saddened to learn that Tony Gentil, mentioned below and on our Pear Festival page, died in 2012.

Aston Town Pear Trees - there is one identified Aston Town pear tree in the village. This is now quite a rare variety, but provides good eating. We are trying to preserve the Aston Town by taking cuttings and grafting onto suitable root-stocks, assisted by Matthew Veasey of Nooks Yard Cider in Little Leigh. If you would be interested in cuttings for propagation, please contact us via the e-mail address to the right :- E-mail to us

Previous Update 16. September 2006 : We held a Pear Festival on Saturday 9. September 2006, to celebrate the historic orchards of Acton Bridge. Tony Gentil, who has a specific interest in local orchards, joined us for the day - click here for details and pictures!

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The typical shape of a hazel pear tree (above), a close-up of the ripe fruit (above right) and part of an old orchard in the village (below right)

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One of the commonest pears in Acton Bridge was the Hazel, or Hessle Pear. A Women's Institute member in her 90's remembers calling these pears 'toadbacks', on account of their brown skins and black dots, not unlike that of a toad.

Unconfirmed stories suggest that during the First World War the pears were delivered to Manchester, to make a khaki dye for military uniforms.

If you'd like more information, the following, provided by Ruth Smith, may be helpful :

The National Fruit Collection is at Brogdale Horticultural Trust, Brogdale Road, Faversham, Kent ME13 8X2, Tel 01795 535286. Reference is also made in 'Orchards of Cheshire' edited by Cheshire Federation of Women's Institutes, published by Alfresco Books (ISBN 1-873727-06-2). Click here for the CFWI website.

Adapted from "Snapshots in Time", a book about the Village published by the Acton Bridge WI to mark the Millennium in 2000. Copies are available from the Post Office.


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