Ever passed that disused viaduct in Castlefield and wished for a prettier sight during your commute? Then you’re in luck – because the National Trust has transformed the disused viaduct into a stunning new green space for city dwellers – and now, the opening date has finally been revealed. Mark July 30 in your diaries, because that’s the first chance you’ll have to explore Manchester’s newest park!
Taking on a similar approach to New York’s famous High Line, the new elevated garden will provide a much-needed slice of nature which will be free-of-charge to enter, with a variety of stunning plants and flowers completely taking over the space and giving it a whole new lease of life.
After over 50 years out of action, the National Trust hopes to test the success of the Grade II-listed structure as a temporary garden for 12 months upon opening this July with plans to scale the project further in the future. The project will form part of the National Trust’s Urban Places campaign, which aims to bring more green spaces to urban areas and provide accessible spaces for residents to enjoy.
Duncan Laird, head of urban places at the National Trust, said: “We’re delighted to be starting this project to bring new life to the viaduct, establishing its place in this vibrant area of the city. Our ambition is to give more people the opportunity to enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of green, nature-rich havens on this remarkable heritage structure in the city.
“This feels especially important in urban areas like Manchester where there is need for more high-quality green spaces. This project will also help bring people back to the city centre and support local businesses to recover.”
The National Trust said last year: “The initial plan is to open the viaduct next summer as a temporary park to test ideas and use the space to gather feedback for the viaduct’s longer-term future. To temporarily change the viaduct’s use next summer and open it to the public, the National Trust will be applying for planning permission in Autumn 2021.”
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester added: “The Castlefield Viaduct is such an iconic part of Manchester’s heritage, so it’s fantastic to see the National Trust’s plans for breathing new life into this landmark and I look forward to working with them to make this a reality.
“Greater Manchester’s parks and green spaces have been a lifeline over the pandemic, and we’ve all been reminded of how important access to nature is, which is why I’m committed to creating greener, more liveable communities.”
There’ll be plenty of lovely touches throughout the space for Mancs to look out for, including a special space for those who suffer from mental health issues created by Urban Wilderness and 42nd Street, an array of trees signifying Manchester’s industrial heritage by City of Trees, and a heritage garden designed by the Science and Industry Museum. To find out more about this ‘garden in the sky’ and to book a slot to visit head to the website here.