Big picture of a town

Lion Salt Works preview days kick off with the opening of WREN-funded play area

The Lion Salt Works, Marston, near Northwich is nearing completion after a four-year £10m restoration with the finishing of an imaginative and exciting play area, thanks to a £54,000 grant from WREN. A not-for-profit organisation, WREN awards grants to community, environmental and heritage projects across the UK from funds donated by FCC Environment to the Landfill Communities Fund.

Youngsters can put the new equipment through its paces from Wednesday 20 May and also visit the Butterfly Garden free of charge. Prior to its press opening on Friday 29 May, the Museum will not be open to the public but instead will trial its interactive displays and put its new tour guides through their paces with a series of Preview Days for invitee-only groups.  For instance there will be Preview Open Days for local residents and volunteer staff, including Trustee volunteers, many of the latter having spent decades campaigning for the refurbishment of the site.

The spacious and distinctive play area was designed, after consultation with local school children, to satisfy the most adventurous youngsters. At the heart of the new area is the distinctive bespoke ‘chimney’ climbing frame and slide, designed to reflect the industrial heritage of this unique site, one of the last historic open-pan salt-making sites in the world.  Young adventurers will also be able to clamber and explore a jungle climber, seesaw, wind-pump play equipment, cradle swing, wobble dish and train and carriage.The play area is the culmination of a two-year project led by Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Green Infrastructure Officer and WREN. The Museum’s play area, attractive Butterfly Garden and café are free of charge and there is ample free parking on site.

Richard Smith, Senior Grant Manager, WREN, said:  “When we started this project, the site of the playground was a derelict wasteland. It is great to think of all the fun children visiting the historic Lion Salt Works will have in this imaginative, exciting and spacious area.”

Katherine West, Museum and Arts Manager, Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the design of this play area and grateful to WREN for its generous funding and support. It will be a real draw for all visitors but a particular benefit to local parents. The new play area means they can enjoy a coffee at the café whilst watching their children having fun.”

The Museum will host a press launch on Friday 29 May at which time, the opening day for the public will be announced.

For further information, contact:    Rachel Ashley, Press Office, Cheshire West and Chester Council, 01244 973025 or Fiona Young, Marketing Cheshire, 01244 851867.

Picture Caption:  R-L Richard Andrews and Mary Lavery from Cheshire West and Chester Council, Nick Hunt, Chairman, Lion Salt Works Trust,  Katherine West, Museums & Arts Manager, Cheshire West and Chester Council and Richard Smith, Senior Grant Manager – Waste Recycling Environmental Ltd (WREN).

Further information

Access to the play area, café and Butterfly Garden is free and the admission prices to the Lion Salt Works Museum are:

Adult: £6.25

Child: £4.00

Family –   2 adults and 2 children    £16.40

Family –   1 adult and 3 children     £14.60

Concessionary prices and annual passes are also available.