Neston is a small residential town and civil parish now located in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester. It is situated on the part of the Wirral Peninsula that remains in the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. Parkgate is located to the north west and the villages of Little Neston and Ness to the south of the town. At the 2001 Census the population of Neston itself was approximately 3,500, and that of the extended area described above was over 15,000.
Historically, the current town was known as Great Neston, in order to be distinct from the smaller nearby hamlet of Little Neston. Before the rise of Birkenhead in the 1820s, it was the largest town in the Wirral Hundred. Great Neston included the hamlets of Clayhill, Hinderton, Moorside and part of Parkgate. The population of Great Neston was 1,486 in 1801 and 1,524 in 1851. In 1894, both Great Neston and Little Neston were combined to create Neston-cum-Parkgate Urban District and by 1901, the population had risen to 2,201.
In 1933 Neston-cum-Parkgate Urban District was replaced by Neston Urban District which included three parishes taken from Wirral Rural District (Ness, Burton and Willaston). Neston Urban District continued to exist until 1974 when, as part of the nationwide reorganization of local government, it joined with Ellesmere Port and the rest of the area at the foot of the Wirral Peninsula to become the Borough of Ellesmere Port and Neston. This district municipality remained the local government for the area until 2009 when it was replaced by the larger unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester.
Neston was a major port before the River Dee silted up in the late 18th century. The port was then shifted further downstream to the nearby town of Parkgate, although by early nineteenth century, most traffic had ultimately transferred to Liverpool.
Neston is also a former mining town, with a colliery located at the nearby hamlet of Denhall. Opened in 1760 by Sir John Stanley, the coal mine consisted of numerous shafts, some of which were dug out underneath the river. Once the River Dee silted up, coal shipments to Ireland and North Wales ended. With the opening up of the railways, other markets were found on the mainland. Coal mining in the Neston area ended in 1928.