Lion Salt Works

The Lion Salt Works is an historic brine salt making site that is being restored into a unique heritage attraction. The £8m project is being undertaken by Cheshire West and Chester Council. It will become a fascinating place to visit for tourists, day visitors and families and a valued resource for local communities, Cheshire businesses and heritage interest groups.  
The site is located in the village of Marston, close to the town of Northwich. It lies adjacent to the Trent and Mersey Canal and is close to the historic Anderton Boat Lift.
Restoration work on the site, which is a Scheduled Monument, is scheduled to start in spring 2011. The attraction is expected to open to the public in summer 2013.
Through exploring the site and its restored buildings, visitors will discover how the salt works operated and the impact of salt on mid Cheshire’s people, economy and landscape. A visit will also set the scene for a wider exploration of the footpaths, waterways and attractions of the adjacent Northwich Woodlands and the wider Weaver Valley.
The Lion Salt Works will be managed as part of the Cheshire West and Chester Museums Service.  
Within the Salt Works will be housed a management centre with conference and training facilities for local businesses.

Business Cluster Development

As part of the project a tourism business cluster will be created, centred on the Lion Salt Works.  It will be developed in a way that reflects the complementary nature of the tourism enterprises in the area and how their function adds value to the visitor experience (which focuses on salt and its industrial legacy).

Quality criteria will be defined, to ensure a consistently high level of visitor experience.  The geographic boundaries of the group will also be identified, to ensure there is not a slow increase in membership from outside the core area, diluting the offer of the cluster.

There are a number of key tourism businesses and destinations, which together are components of a ‘visitor journey’ – enabling visitors to gain a complete picture of the unique heritage and history of the area.  These include: -

•    The Lion Salt Works itself
•    The Anderton Boat Lift
•    Weaver Hall Museum
•    The Northwich Woodlands
•    The River Weaver

Other key tourism businesses with which the core group will aim to achieve synergy include:

•    Hotels
•    Places to eat and drink
•    Boating companies
•    Attractions
•    Rural destinations
•    Industrial locations which accept visitors

A Group Strategy will be developed for the cluster, identifying: -

•    Internal relationships
•    Ways of facilitating joint methods of working
•    Mechanisms for securing the long term viability of the group – including funding sources and financial contributions from group members.

A promotional strategy will be created, focussing on areas such as: 

•    Joint marketing (attractions passports, discount offers)
•    Events
•    Publications
•    Website
•    Publicity
•    Social networking
•    Monitoring of outputs and return on investment

Website Development

The new Lion Salt Works Business Cluster will use the innovative Discovercheshire system as the basis for its website development.

Discovercheshire enables the integration of a range of data sources with fully scalable, interactive mapping – to provide a comprehensive itinerary planning tool combined with rich information and route or point details.

The system has been developed by the two Cheshire local authorities and The Mersey Forest, part of which is included in the Lion Salt Works business cluster area.

Content of the new site will comprise:

  • A page for each attraction in the cluster - each of these will feature:

- Full information on the business
- Links to the businesses own website
- Images, mp3 files or video clips as appropriate
- The location of the attraction on the map, with the facility to highlight other nearby  businesses using the embedded link to the local tourist board’s tourism product database.

  • Details of recreational routes within the area, including those within country parks (such as The Northwich Woodlands) and along canal tow paths.
  • Information on the historical and natural context within which the cluster operates, (helping exploit local distinctiveness and enhance the customer experience).  Content will include:

- The story of salt exploitation
- Industrial development
- Construction of the canal system
- Commercial use of the River Weaver
- Technical details of salt extraction
- Landscape changes
- Local flora and fauna

Following the complex restauration process of Lion Salt Works the management center was opened in June 2015. The transformation of the decrepit listed building into a new experience location was implemented under support of highly qualified architects. The management centre is the link for the multiple public and private stakeholder cooperation to enable a business clustering to promote the site (see detailed information in final documentation chapter 1.2).

Contact und Information

Cheshire West and Chester Council
Karen Williams
Economy & Growth, Growth & Prosperity Directorate, 

2nd Floor, HQ Building, Chester

Tel. +44 (0) 1244.977993



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