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Our work at Castlefield Viaduct

A gardener in a navy blue polo shirt is trimming some bright yellow flowers with secateurs
Our gardener tending to some of the plants | © Annapurna Mellor/National Trust Images

We’re working with the city of Manchester to breathe new life into the Victorian viaduct in Castlefield, transforming it into an urban park created by and for the benefit of local people. Discover our vision for the viaduct and keep up to date with our progress here.

Finding a future for the viaduct

For many years, local people and organisations have worked to find a future for Castlefield Viaduct in Manchester – a 330-metre steel viaduct, built in 1892 and closed in 1969. We’re excited to be working with them to bring this Grade II listed viaduct back to life, 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 focused on increasing access to parks and green spaces, so that more people are in easy reach of quiet places with wide open skies.

Our vision for Castlefield Viaduct

Our 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 complements existing plans for the city.

In addition to bringing people closer to nature in the city, the viaduct will be a stepping stone to other green spaces and cultural attractions in South Manchester, accessible by foot or bike – sitting alongside iconic venues such as the Science and Industry Museum and The Factory.

Phase one: a temporary urban park

The first phase of this ambitious project has already begun with the launch of a temporary urban park on the viaduct, where we’re testing ideas and inviting visitors to share their ideas for the Viaduct’s future.

Launched in July 2022, the pilot is being delivered 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, the project has been made possible thanks to private donations and support received from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

A pond in the foreground surrounded by green plants and two grey stone masks on a rusted metal wall at the back.
The Sow The City garden plot | © Annapurna Mellor/National Trust Images

Working with local partners

As part of the first phase of the project, we’ve created a temporary urban park covering half of the viaduct’s deck, working with four local partners at a time – currently Hulme Garden Centre, Sow The City, City of Trees and Castlefield Forum – to create unique garden areas within the park for visitors to explore.

Visitors are also able to learn more about the viaduct’s history, the city’s relationship with plants and trees, and pick up some urban gardening tips along the way.

In July 2023, we announced the temporary garden would stay open until summer 2024.

Phase two: the future of the viaduct

After the pilot phase, we will consolidate all the learnings, ideas and visitor feedback in the hope of developing a long-term solution for the future of Castlefield Viaduct.

The aim of the project is 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.

In July 2023, we appointed landscape architects from Manchester based design practice, BDP, which will work with the Trust, partners and the community to develop bigger, bolder plans for the possible next phase of the viaduct. Funding is still required if this next phase is to go ahead and the project is to become a permanent feature of the Manchester skyline.

We’ll continue sharing updates as the plan and fundraising progresses, so keep an eye on this page and social media to find out how things are going.

Supporters of the Castlefield Viaduct project

It’s thanks to vital funding from the People’s Postcode Lottery that we’re able to transform Castlefield Viaduct for the benefit of people and nature.

Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: ‘Having access to green spaces and being able to connect with nature has such a huge impact on our wellbeing, so I’m delighted funding raised by our players is helping bring this to Manchester’s city centre and breathing life into this iconic piece of the city’s heritage at the same time.’

Private donations

We’d also like to thank those individuals who have contributed to the project so far. As a charity, we depend on donations to help us carry out vital conservation work and revive special places like Castlefield Viaduct. Funds raised for this project will go towards delivering the first stage of the project and enable us to continue planning for the future of the viaduct.

To find out more about supporting the project, visit the ‘About’ section on the Castlefield Viaduct homepage.

Planting begins at Castlefield Viaduct, Manchester


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