Finding a future for Castlefield Viaduct

Castlefield viaduct

We’re working with the city of Manchester to breathe new life into this Victorian viaduct, transforming it into an urban park created by and for the benefit of local people. 

Finding a future for the viaduct 

For several years, local people and organisations in the community have been passionate about finding a future for Castlefield Viaduct – a mighty 330 metre steel viaduct built in 1892. We’re excited to be working with them to bring this Grade II listed viaduct back into use, transforming it into an urban park created by and for the benefit of local people

As a charity committed to protecting nature, beauty and history, our work covers everywhere from remote islands and nature reserves to urban heritage and city parks. Our work in, around, and near urban areas is about increasing access to parks and green spaces so that more people are in easy reach of quiet places with wide open skies.

The vision is to transform Castlefield Viaduct into a free-to-access park and meeting place for people and nature. It will be a space that respects the listed structure, celebrates the nature, beauty and history of the viaduct, and fits in with existing plans for the city. As well as bringing people closer to nature in the city, it will be a stepping stone to other South Manchester green spaces and attractions on foot or bike. The viaduct will take its place in this vibrant area for cultural and heritage, sitting alongside iconic Manchester venues including the Science and Industry Museum and The Factory.

The first phase of this ambitious project will open this summer with the launch of a temporary urban park where we’ll test ideas and invite visitors to tell us what they think Castlefield Viaduct should be in the future.

We’re delivering this year-long pilot in collaboration with National Highways Historical Railways Estate Team, supported by Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Transport for Greater Manchester and the local community, businesses and supporters.

Costing £1.8 million, this project has been made possible thanks to private donations and support received from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Phase one: opening  July 2022

Over the next few months we'll be hard at work getting the viaduct ready to welcome visitors. We'll use half of the viaduct to create a temporary urban park with trees and flowers planted to attract wildlife. We're also working with four partners, Urban Wilderness, the Science and Industry Museum, City of Trees, and Castlefield Forum to create their own unique garden areas on the viaduct.

Visitors will find out more about the viaduct's heritage, the city's relationship with plants and trees and pick up some urban gardening tips along the way. Stepping into a covered space, visitors will be able to stop and look out accross an untouched part of the viaduct to imagine what its future could look like and share their views and ideas. 

View of castlefield viaduct from street level

Booking your visit

Visits will be guided and you’ll need to book your free, timed ticket in advance. Tickets are currently unavailable to book due an unexpected delay to work on the viaduct. Work is happening behind the scenes to get the site ready to welcome visitors and we're planning to open no later than the end of July. Please check back for updates.

Phase two:

After the testing phase we hope to consolidate all of the learnings, ideas and visitor feedback into a longer-term solution for the future of Castlefield Viaduct. The aim of the project will be to provide a cultural, heritage and greenspace amenity in the heart of the city: a place that the people of Manchester can use and benefit from well into the future.

We’ll be sharing updates as the project progresses, so keep an eye on this page to find out how things are going.


Watch our fly-through video

See what the viaduct could look like in summer 2022 when we transform it into a temporary urban park above Manchester to test ideas and get your feedback.

An artist impression showing how the viaduct could look

©Twelve Architects & Masterplanners

An artist impression showing what the viaduct could look like with planting

©Twelve Architects & Masterplanners