Visitors will soon be able to enjoy Manchester’s new sky park just five months after work began to transform a giant 330 metre steel viaduct into an elevated park with trees, plants and flowers.
Tackling the challenge of ‘greening’ Castlefield Viaduct and to celebrate this well-known, historic landmark, construction company MC Construction, Twelve architects, and four local partners have been working with National Trust gardening specialists and apprentices to create the new park with thousands of plants, shrubs and trees planted over the past five months.
With the final finishing touches now being made, the temporary urban park will open on Saturday 30th July for the next 12 months with green spaces stretching across the elevation.
During this time, visitors will have the opportunity to explore part of the structure and find out more about the viaduct’s heritage, the city’s long relationship with plants and trees and learn urban gardening tips.
They’ll experience a variety of planting displays as they walk along the viaduct while enjoying the elevated setting above the historic cobbled streets.
They’ll also see the park develop and evolve, responding to the different seasons.
The conservation charity hopes to inspire and capture visitor and community opinions to help shape the longer-term future of the Grade II listed structure.
“Today is incredibly exciting,” said Hilary McGrady, Director-General of the National Trust.
“The idea of transforming the viaduct has been around for a while, but it was always put in the ‘too hard to achieve box’ and set aside.
“For that long-held vision to finally come to life is therefore testament to the strong partnerships we have formed and the hard work of so many.
“What I love about this space is that it encapsulates so much of what the Trust’s work is about: opening up our shared heritage for everyone to enjoy, creating beautiful spaces and bringing people closer to nature.
“It’s about creating something new for the community, while also protecting an iconic piece of industrial history.
“We hope hundreds of people will visit and enjoy spending time in nature among the trees, shrubs and wildlife that is already starting to make this space its home.
“We’ll also be able to learn from this project and really start to understand more about what and how we can bring more green spaces and wildlife to thousands more people across the country in urban spaces.”
The plans for Castlefield Viaduct are part of the National Trust’s Urban Places work to increase access for all to nature, history and beauty in, around and near urban areas.