A project to improve an area of Cheshire modified by centuries of salt extraction and associated industrial activity has been earmarked for nearly £1m
The Saltscape Landscape Partnership, led by Cheshire West and Chester Council, has been invited to submit a detailed outline of the project to secure the grant. Development funding of £48,800 has already been awarded to help progress plans to apply for the full grant.
The project focuses on an area stretching from Frodsham to Middlewich and Winsford, including the River Weaver and the Trent and Mersey Canal. It is a landscape characterised by both its industrial legacy and wildlife more usually associated with coastal habitats and limestone areas.
The project aims to conserve, restore and improve access to the area’s natural habitats and heritage attractions, says a spokesperson.
A development officer will now be employed by Groundwork Cheshire in Northwich to prepare the proposals in detail ahead of the second round application in October 2013. The scheme is expected to get under way in January 2014, led by two project officers who will be based for three years with Groundwork Cheshire.
Sara Hilton, head of Heritage Lottery Fund North West, says that she and her colleagues particularly liked the project’s focus on telling the story of the Weaver Valley’s role in the salt industry. ‘While conservation of the landscape is the main focus, there are also a number of important and well-planned volunteering opportunities on offer to help local people have a much greater involvement in and understanding of their surrounding natural heritage,’ she added.