Dutton Horse Bridge

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Dutton Horse Bridge
Dutton - Horse Bridge.jpg
Dutton Horse Bridge
Coordinates 53°17′10″N 2°37′30″W / 53.2860°N 2.6251°W / 53.2860; -2.6251Coordinates: 53°17′10″N 2°37′30″W / 53.2860°N 2.6251°W / 53.2860; -2.6251
Crosses River Weaver
Locale Acton Bridge, Cheshire
Official name Dutton Lower Horse Bridge[a]
Other name(s) Lower Dutton Horse Bridge
Heritage status Grade II listed
Design John Arthur Saner
Opened 1919 (1919)

Dutton Horse Bridge is a timber twin-span footbridge across part of the Weaver navigation, near the villages of Acton Bridge and Dutton in Cheshire, England. The bridge is located at SJ 583 767, between the Dutton Locks and Dutton Viaduct. It carries the towpath across a subsidiary channel used to regulate the water level, at the point where it rejoins the main river.[2][3]

The bridge dates from 1915–1919 and is by John Arthur Saner. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building; the listing describes it as "an elegant structure in the functional waterways tradition".[2] The bridge is one of the earliest remaining examples of a laminated timber structure,[2] and is also believed to be the sole laminated greenheart timber bridge in the country.[3]


J.A. Saner, the bridge's designer, was chief engineer to the Weaver Navigation Trust from 1888 to 1934.[2][3][4] He was responsible for many other innovative structures on the Weaver, including Northwich's Hayhurst Bridge and Town Bridge of 1899, believed to be the two earliest electrically operated swing bridges in Britain, as well as the electrification of the Anderton Boat Lift.[4][5][6] Work on Dutton Horse Bridge commenced in 1915 (engineering drawings from that date were archived by British Waterways),[2] and was completed in June 1919.[3] The bridge was renovated in the 1990s, when some of the submerged greenheart timber was found to be still intact.[3][7]

Side view showing triangulated struts


The bridge is constructed predominantly of greenheart timber. It has two spans, one of 100 ft 7 in (30.7 m) and the other of 101 ft 7 in (31.0 m). Each span consists of paired semi-elliptical timber arches of mechanically laminated timber, strengthened with triangulated timber struts, which also support the platform.[2][3] The paired arches are braced by cast-iron struts.[3]

The bridge platform is 8 ft (2.4 m) wide with a gentle arch. It has simple timber guard rails of the post-and-rail type.[2][3] The deck was originally constructed of asphalt-coated timber slats.[3] The central pier rests on two connected cylindrical columns of concrete-filled brick.[3] The abutments are built of brick capped with concrete copings; they rest on timber piles.[2][3] The timberwork is painted white and the ironwork black.[8]

Modern usage[edit]

The Weaver Valley is being redeveloped to promote tourism.[9] A recreation area at Dutton Locks was created in 2002, including a bench by local artist Phil Bews to encourage tourists to enjoy the views towards the bridge and the nearby viaduct.[10] The towpath crossing the bridge is a bridleway, which forms part of the Aston Ring Bridleway.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ A footbridge also known as Dutton Horse Bridge was built upstream in 2010.[1]


  1. ^ "New horse friendly bridge installed at Dutton Locks", Chester Chronicle, Trinity Mirror, 27 August 2010, retrieved 6 December 2012 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Historic England, "Horse Bridge over river 250 metres south west of Dutton lock (1139138)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 24 March 2015 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Dutton Horse Bridge", Engineering Timelines, Engineering Timelines, retrieved 6 December 2012 
  4. ^ a b "Obituary: John Arthur Saner 1864-1952" (PDF), ICE Proceedings, 1 (4), pp. 503–504, 1952, retrieved 6 December 2012 
  5. ^ Historic England, "Hayhurst Bridge over Weaver Navigation, and Control Cabin (1310259)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 24 March 2015 
  6. ^ Historic England, "Town Bridge over Weaver Navigation, and Control Cabin (1329879)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 24 March 2015 
  7. ^ a b Aston Ring Bridleway (PDF), Mid Cheshire Bridleway Association, retrieved 6 December 2012 
  8. ^ "Merseyside Bridges: 8. Dutton Horse Bridge", The Happy Pontist, retrieved 6 December 2012 
  9. ^ Weaver Valley Regional Park, Cheshire East, retrieved 7 December 2012 
  10. ^ "Beauty spot to get regeneration cash", Ellesmere Port Pioneer, Trinity Mirror, retrieved 6 December 2012 

External links[edit]