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Working with the community

A group of people of various ages being talked to by a guide and surrounded by the old steel girders of a railway viaduct.
Visitors on a tour of Castlefield Viaduct | © ©National Trust Images/Paul Harris

Community is at the heart of the Castlefield Viaduct project. From partnering with local organisations to create garden plots on the viaduct to working with communities across Greater Manchester to green their own spaces to being somewhere groups can develop green skills or simply enjoy getting closer to nature, the viaduct has become a place where everyone is welcome.

A group of people outside stood around a large work bench each holding a flower pot
A group of people in the workshop | © Mark Waugh

The Workshop

From reopening in 2024, a new workshop space, created in partnership with viaduct partners Sow the City, gives community groups the opportunity to grow their green skills and connect with gardening and nature even more. ‘Green workshops’, craft sessions and DIY activities are hosted in the space to pass on gardening knowledge like seed sowing and propagation.

All visitors are welcome to take a look around when it isn't in use. If you know a group that might be interested in using the space, please email

Two women pruning a large planter full of long grasses
Gardener and a volunteer working in the garden | © National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor

Inspiring a greener Greater Manchester

The Castlefield Viaduct team have also been working off the viaduct to inspire communities to come together and create green urban spaces of their own.

One example is the garden at the Guidance Hub in Cheetham Hill. Sited in one of the most diverse areas of the UK. The Guidance Hub is a Community Centre with a focus on Islamic education and spirituality as well as serving the whole community. They offer everything from study classes to after school football sessions. Castlefield Viaduct helped them take over a car park and create a garden.

It was built by National Trust's community partner, Sow The City, using recycled materials and the National Trust provided plants and expertise to keep it growing. The Hub have set up a gardening club and with the viaduct’s team support, the local Strong Roots Community Interest Company has received Family Hub funding to provide a Community Engagement Officer. They will reach out to others in the community and lead nature and wellbeing sessions in the new garden and other places in the area.

Through funding provided by the National Trust’s relationship with Autotrader, the garden will also be expanded to include a pond, planters for trees, mural and more growing space.

More community work has taken place directly at Castlefield Viaduct. For six weeks in Autumn 2023, Manchester Hospital Schools Leo Kelly School and Galaxy House came to Castlefield Viaduct for 6 weeks to begin their Duke of Edinburgh Awards. The viaduct provided a local, welcoming green space in a calm setting that allows the students to volunteer and gain new skills.

The viaduct also hosted workers and clients from MASH (Manchester Action on Street Health). They created hanging baskets, went on nature walks and simply enjoyed the space as part of their wellbeing.

Castlefield Viaduct is due to close later in 2024 but the National Trust team are currently seeking funding for a permanent future. Part of that future will include more work around Greater Manchester that will empower communities to green their own areas and improve access to nature there or provide a space where groups that need a supported environment can find it. Most importantly, the community work we hope to continue is about collaborating with all the people of Greater Manchester to create places where they can discover the joys of connecting with nature and improving lives in the process.

Planting begins at Castlefield Viaduct, Manchester


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Our Work


Our work at Castlefield Viaduct 

Learn about our vision for Castlefield Viaduct in Manchester and about the work we're doing in partnership to transform this historic structure into an urban park for people and nature.

A view along the top of Castlefield Viaduct before it's transformation, with green vegetation taking over the steel viaduct.

Combatting climate change at Castlefield Viaduct 

Find out how we’re working to combat climate change at Castlefield Viaduct, as part of a project to transform this historic structure into an urban green space.