Enjoy a Marvellous Day Out in Lostock Gralam on the Mid Cheshire Line
In our Marvellous Days Out booklet, John Hulme says:
If you have passed through Lostock Gralam station you will have noticed the large running-in boards that say Take the Train. Walk the Canal. Visit the Lion Salt Works.
If you are a heritage hunter who enjoys a ramble, this is just the day out for you.
Your trip starts with a 45-minute walk down the Trent and Mersey Canal but please note that the walk may be muddy so good footwear is recommended. It is also not suitable for child buggies and similar.
Completed in 1777, under the direction of James Brindley, the canal in those days was the commercial lifeline for Josiah Wedgewood’s business in the Potteries.
Today, you will see holidaymakers on their colourful narrowboats.
Be sure to give them a wave and look out for the herons and kingfishers on your walk.
You will know when you have arrived at the Lion Salt Works. In front of you will be the black 30,000-gallon brine tank which used to feed the evaporating pans in the Works.
You can enter by the gate on the canal.
My wife has close and personal memories of the Salt Works in its heyday because Joan was born in Marston and her granny lived in the house next door to the Works.
She would often visit Grandma Buckley and see the “lumpmen” at work skimming out the hot salt crystals into the elm tubs which rested on a rail beside the pan.
It was a tough life working the brine pans and in the steamy, sticky hot-houses.
You can imagine after hours in the Works your throat would be dry and salty as though you had crossed a desert.
That is perhaps why at the entrance to the Works was the Red Lion Inn!
Grandma would also talk about Mr Thompson arriving early for work, opening his office, and then awaiting the workers to clock in.
At the Lion Salt Works today, you can learn all about the Works’ history, get steamed up in Pan House 3, see Mr Thompson’s office and even visit a recreation of the Red Lion Inn.
Nick Hunt, Chairman of The Lion Salt Works Trust says:
“The Trust have been working since 1993 to restore the Works.
Following a £10m restoration, the Lion Salt Works is now open for all the family to enjoy.”