top of page

The Brine Industry

"The name "Nantwich" is derived from the Welsh name "Nant yr Heledd Wen", meaning the stream of the white salt pit."

If you were to travel back in time to around 200 million years ago, you'd see a shallow sea that covered the area known as the Cheshire-Shropshire salt field.

Nantwich town's naturally occurring brine springs once allowed for a thriving salt industry. The town was accessed by Roman garrisons from Chester and Stoke-on-Trent for its salt supply, of which they used as a preservative.

The brine was collected from the natural springs, heated and produced by evaporation. The final product was then stored in hollowed-out tree trunks, referred to as 'salt ships'.

"In the 17th century, Nantwich produced twice as much salt as Middlewich and three times that produced at Northwich, having a better concentration of brine and better access to ready markets."

The brine industry peaked in the late 16th century when 216 salt-making houses were drawing brine from a salt pit named "Old Biot", located by the Welsh Row bridge. Production ceased in the 1850s.

Believe it or not, "Old Biot" is still in use today and supplies the salt for Nantwich's outdoor brine pool at Snow Hill. A plaque can be found on the east side of The River Weaver near Waterlode. Why not have a look for it next time you visit or pass by?

bottom of page