The National Trust has revealed plans to transform the long-abandoned Grade II Castlefield viaduct into a bustling city-centre park and green space sitting above the oldest part of Manchester.

Promising a meeting place for people and nature, this ambitious new project looks set to be similar in nature to New York City’s High Line – the public park that repurposed abandoned railway lines and transformed them into a hybrid park, art and social space. Currently in the early stages of development, the revamped Castlefield viaduct aims to deliver an area that works in harmony with the historical significance of the viaduct whilst celebrating nature and acting as a connecting point to South Manchester’s green spaces and attractions via foot or bike.

Built in 1892 by Heenan and Froude – the same engineers who crafted Blackpool Tower – Castlefield viaduct is steeped in history, sitting on a part of Manchester that spans all the way back to the city’s Roman origins. Stretching 330m long, the viaduct was used to carry cargo in and out of Manchester Central railway station (now Manchester Central Convention Complex) before it closed in 1969. It also marks the terminus point for the world’s first industrial waterway – Bridgewater Canal.

Nestled alongside the Science and Industry Museum and MIF‘s soon-to-debut Factory venue, the new-look Castlefield viaduct hopes to launch as early as Summer 2022 – and is looking for input from the local community and regional partners to aid its development plans. As such, a number of online events where members of the public can offer their thoughts have been scheduled throughout late June and early July.

Due to take place on Wednesday 30 June, 1pm – 2pm, Thursday 1 July, 6pm – 7pm and Tuesday 6 July, 7pm – 8pm – these digital sessions will offer a platform for community input before the National Trust submit their formal application for planning permission later this year – with viewing links available soon.In the meantime, those interested in getting involved with the project can fill out the National Trust’s online survey, which will be available from Wednesday 23 June until Sunday 25 July 2021.

COVID restrictions permitting, there will also be an in-person, drop-in event hosted at the Science and Industry Museum on Thursday 22 July between noon to 3pm where visitors can find out more about the project and have their say. To learn more about the project, sponsorship options and how to offer your support, visit the National Trust website.

Tue 22 Jun, Castlefield Viaduct,
Manchester M3 4PU
Simon Bland
Published on:
Tue 22 Jun 2021