Winsford is on the River Weaver to the south of Northwich.
The town developed in the early 18th century when the river was canalised, allowing freight to be transported north to the port of Runcorn on the River Mersey.
Until the late 18th century the town of Winsford was the nearest barges carrying china clay from Cornwall could be get to the Potteries. From Winsford the clay was carried 30 miles overland to the Potteries, along with locally-produced salt, used in manufacture of salt-glazed pottery.
Finished ceramics were transported back to Winsford to be exported by boat through Liverpool. When the Trent and Mersey Canal opened in the 1780s these goods passed through Middlewich instead, bypassing Winsford.
In 1844 a new salt mine was opened in Winsford, enabling the development of the salt industry along the River Weaver and by 1897 Winsford had become the largest producer of salt in England.
Now the Salt Union mine at Meadow Bank is the UK's only working rock salt mine, with salt quarried from more than 150 meters below ground the surface. The salt, known as 'grit' is used on roads in freezing weather.
The town centre is divided into two by the River Weaver, with Over on the west and Wharton on the east. As the wind blew the smoke away from Over, this part of the town attracted the wealthier residents.
Modern Winsford has an impressive industrial estate and has become an important administrative centre, housing the headquarters of the Vale Royal Borough Council, Cheshire Fire Brigade and Cheshire Police.
A feature of the town is the Winsford 'Flashes' - three lakes set along the course of the River Weaver. These lakes were formed in the 19th century as a result of salt extraction. When surface ground subsided into underground voids the river widened into lakes. The lakes now have a range of wildlife, such as migrating wildfowl, and are popular for sailing, fishing and walking.
Towns Near Winsford To Visit - straight line distance:Middlewich (3.27 miles) Northwich (4.42 miles) Sandbach (7.35 miles) Crewe (7.47 miles)