LANDSCAPE and history will be preserved in Northwich, Winsford and Middlewich when a £935,000 windfall is secured.

Cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund has been earmarked for the Saltscape Project, a scheme to highlight and conserve the unique character of the Weaver Valley’s salt-making landscape.

The project team has now been invited to submit a detailed outline of its plans to fully secure the funding.

Clr Herbert Manley, Cheshire West and Chester Council’s executive member for prosperity, said: “We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support to enable residents and visitors to enjoy the wonderful heritage and natural resources that the Weaver Valley area has to offer.

“This funding will also help regeneration by encouraging more people to visit the area and enjoy our unique attractions such as the Anderton Boat Lift and the Lion Salt Works.”

The project focuses on the landscape that has been transformed by the salt industry stretching from through Frodsham, Northwich, Middlewich and Winsford.

Clr Brian Clarke said: “We faced some stiff competition from schemes from around the UK for the HLF funding, and we are delighted that Saltscape was among the successful projects.

“People are very much at the heart of Saltscape, with one of its key aims to get more local residents involved in this fascinating landscape that is right on our doorstep.

“Initiatives will include creating new paths and seats and providing school trips and a range of heritage skills courses.”

Sara Hilton, head of Heritage Lottery Fund North West, said: “The Heritage Lottery Fund thought this was a really interesting scheme and particularly liked its focus on telling the story of the Weaver Valley’s role in the salt industry.”

The Saltscape Project is made up of Cheshire West and Chester Council, Groundwork Cheshire, The Canal & River Trust , The Weaverham Trust, The Mersey Forest, Middlewich Town Council, Cheshire Wildlife Trust and the Weaver Valley Partnership.

The Saltscape Project’s five themes: • Salt legacy – work will include bridge repair at Vale Royal Locks, restoration work at Three Locks, in Middlewich, conserving the white-clawed crayfish, an excavation close to the Lion Salt Works, restoration work at Marshall’s Arm Local Nature Reserve, finishing the Weaver Way path, developing ‘petal walks’ around the village of Weaverham and clearing invasive species.

• Salt people – Saltscape will help community groups, organise guided volunteer events, run a series of community arts events and give advice to local landowners.

• Salt way – the project will encourage local people and visitors to explore the geology and chemistry of salt or engage in activities from rambling to cycling or boating. 40 school trips will be provided, along with guided walks and a training day on local geology.

• Salt skills – Saltscape aims to provide a range of exciting learning experiences including boat building, canal boat painting, historic lime mortar, lace making, carrying out historic research and various aspects of nature conservation.

• Salt landscape – The Weaver Valley includes many ‘jewels in the crown’ such as the Anderton Boat Lift and Lion Salt Works, ancient woodland and Middlewich Brine Pump. Saltscape will show how the countryside links these attractions and demonstrate how all the natural and historic features fit together into the wider landscape.