The wich towns – Northwich, Leftwich, Middlewich and Nantwich – are all salt towns.
The Romans were the first documented exploiters of the salt deposits beneath the Cheshire plain, and the mineral is still removed in vast amounts, but now using controlled brine pumping, which does not create the dramatic subsidence problems seen in the past that damaged buildings, cracked roads and flooded tracts of land to create ‘flashes’.
As a result of this subsidence, special timber-framed liftable buildings were designed and built in nearby Northwich, enabling hydraulic jacks to level any building affected by this problem. There are still 50 of these buildings in the town. Buildings in the High St have been lifted up by over 20ft (6m) in total over the years.
The Salt Museum in Northwich (half a mile south of the town centre, on the A533) explains every aspect of the industry and the Lion Salt Works (at Marston, on the Trent and Mersey Canal and B5075 north east of Northwich) shows you how lump salt is made by evaporation of brine.