Saltscape secures Heritage Lottery Fund investment
Groundwork Cheshire based in Northwich, on behalf of the Saltscape Partnership has received a confirmed grant of £886,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Saltscape project, it was announced today. Over the next 3 years the project aims to conserve and restore important features connected to the area’s landscape, increase awareness and appreciation of the special qualities of this unique area, promote new opportunities for people to access, enjoy and learn about the salt heritage of the area, and develop training programmes for the local community to develop their heritage skills.
There will be many opportunities for people to get involved in and find out more about the salt landscape in and around Northwich, Winsford, Frodsham and Middlewich through essential conservation work to create habitats and remove invasive species, built and natural environment education visits and sessions for children and adults, conferences and events and talks, performances, history and archaeology and geology projects, recording and social media projects and the restoration of some of the key features in the area such as the Anderton Boatlift Gate Lodges, Swing bridge at Vale Royal Locks and pathways throughout the area.
The provision of training courses will be key to the success of this project. A number of partner organisations will be providing opportunities for trainees looking for a career in the heritage and conservation fields to learn new skills.
The geology of this part of Cheshire resulted in large salt deposits in the area, which have been used since Roman times. Through the centuries the salt has been exploited as a valuable resource, leading to the establishment of hundreds of small enterprises, new settlements, multinational businesses, a canal network, groundbreaking engineering feats and ingenuity and ultimately natural habitats that are rarely found inland. The salt still provides jobs for many people in the area and the legacy of the salt industry also provides further education, leisure and tourism opportunities.
Dave Blackburn, Chair of the Saltscape Partnership, said: “This project aims to protect, restore, enhance and manage this special area as one environment, to rebuild local people’s relationship with their land, heritage and history and strive to make the area a better place to work, live and visit. Using the knowledge and vision of a wide range of local people and organisations, the Saltscape partnership has developed a range of projects which will bring to life this fascinating story and help to conserve and improve access to many of the features in the area. We are extremely pleased that the Heritage Lottery Fund share our enthusiasm and are supporting us with this generous grant.”
Explaining the importance of the HLF support, Sara Hilton, Head of HLF North West, said: “Our Landscape Partnership Schemes bring together community groups and public bodies with a shared passion for caring for our incredible natural environment. Our investment in the Saltscape Partnership will bring cohesion to the unique natural and built heritage of this part of Cheshire, and will enable its sights and stories to be shared and appreciated by more and more people.”