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You’ll love this award-winning Chelsea Flower Show garden coming to Castlefield Viaduct

A gold-medal winning garden from RHS Chelsea Flower Show is on its way to Manchester
WaterAid Castlefield Viaduct RHS Chelsea

There’s been a lot of good news recently for the city’s green spaces, and it looks like we’re going to get a bit more.

A beautiful garden that won a gold medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is coming to Castlefield Viaduct.

And it’s all to raise awareness for a great cause – water conservation.

The WaterAid Garden at Castlefield Viaduct

Castlefield Viaduct

On top of the recently announced extension plans, WaterAid are hoping by moving their award-winning garden up here they are going to inspire more and more people to think about sustainable water management.

WaterAid is an international not-for-profit determined to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation.

They work alongside communities in 22 countries to secure these three essentials that transform people’s lives.

Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 28 million people with clean water and nearly 29 million people with decent toilets.

The WaterAid Garden will stand at the entrance of the Victorian-era Grade ll listed steel viaduct in Castlefield, which was opened by the National Trust in 2022, providing vital green space and helping preserve part of the city’s industrial heritage.

It’s been a huge success, with the National Trust revealing that over 100,000 people have walked through its doors since it opened.

Project Giving Back

An artists impression on how it could look

The charity’s garden, which celebrates water as our most precious resource, was a collaboration between architect Je Ahn and landscape designer Tom Massey, and both the garden and its relocation were made possible thanks to support from the grant-making charity Project Giving Back.

You can find out more about Project Giving Back by clicking here

The centrepiece of the thought-provoking design is a planted rainwater harvesting pavilion, which filters and stores rainfall for irrigation, while also slowing the flow of heavy downpours and providing shade.

What do WaterAid do?

The structure was inspired by WaterAid’s work alongside communities around the world to develop relevant and sustainable clean water solutions and build resilience to climate change.

Almost one in ten people globally do not have clean water close to home, and climate change is making the situation worse, as a staggering 90% of all natural disasters are water-related.

Tim Wainwright, WaterAid Chief Executive

Tim Wainwright, WaterAid Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to partner with the National Trust for the relocation of The WaterAid Garden to
the iconic Castlefield Viaduct in Manchester.

“It’s an exciting move to a great community space, which will enable more people to visit the garden and be inspired to use water sustainably and learn about the crucial role of rainwater.

“The climate crisis is a water crisis, with more frequent and extreme floods polluting water sources and droughts drying up springs. At WaterAid, we are working alongside communities on the frontline of the climate crisis globally to ensure a reliable supply of life-changing clean water.

“It is this work that has inspired our garden, and its new location will serve as a living example of how innovative water management can create beautiful, functional green spaces here in the UK, as well as sharing the powerful message that clean water changes lives.”

Why is Castlefield Viaduct important for Manchester?

Tour-group on Castlefield Viaduct ©National Trust/Paul-Harris

The National Trust said they envision Castlefield Viaduct as a permanent, free park and community meeting place, a vibrant space where people and nature coexist.

It celebrates the viaduct’s historical significance, while embracing innovative, sustainable solutions.

The conservation charity recently announced its ‘phase two’ ambition to extend the sky park to the full length of the 330-metre-long viaduct, subject to planning approval, as well as its longer-term ‘vision’ for the site.

While a large proportion of the funding for phase two has been provisionally secured, the Trust is keen to hear from anyone who wishes to lend their support and turn the plans into a reality for Manchester.

National Trust Director of Gardens & Parklands, Andy Jasper

National Trust Director of Gardens & Parklands, Andy Jasper, said: “Making Castlefield Viaduct the new home of The WaterAid Garden will mark a huge milestone in our efforts to create a vibrant urban horticultural oasis in the heart of Manchester.

“It will also help us weave sustainable, environmental solutions into the day-to-day running of this beautiful historic space. Rainwater harvesting is one of those important solutions and has been tested using water-butts on the deck during the project’s first phase.

“WaterAid’s stunning rainwater harvesting pavilion and climate resilient planting is the perfect next step as we move into the new phase of our ‘sky park’.

“The WaterAid Garden, together with the plans we recently announced for phase 2 of the viaduct, mean the future of Castlefield Viaduct is looking very bright indeed.

“We are so grateful to Project Giving Back, WaterAid and Tom Massey for this fantastic addition to the already very popular Castlefield Viaduct. It’s brilliant that the garden can continue to inspire people to think about climate resilient gardening. We couldn’t be prouder to be able to bring this multi award winning scheme to Manchester.”

The relocation of The WaterAid Garden to Castlefield Viaduct is intended to begin in October this year, with construction commencing in February 2025 and welcoming visitors to the newly enhanced viaduct in summer 2025.

You can find out more about what’s going on at Castlefield Viaduct by clicking here

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