Plans to expand the current green space that has transformed a segment of Castlefield Viaduct have been revealed by The National Trust.

Back in 2022, the group installed a new, green sky garden upon the 125-year-old railway structure, opening the space to visits from the public.

Following a successful pilot scheme, which has seen more than 100,000 people visit the space, The National Trust has now shared ambitious plans for the next stage of the viaduct’s redevelopment.

Credit: National Trust

The new masterplan, titled Vision, would see the garden, which currently takes up around one-third of the abandoned railway line, extended across the entirety of the 330m structure. Additional entry and exit points close to Mancunian Way could turn the park into a connecting route between the city centre, Pomona, Salford and Trafford.

Plans would also include more places to sit, relax and take in the views of the city, and pop-up spaces for community activities and events, also feature in the plans.

Seven ‘character’ areas have been defined as the base for the viaduct. These include a new welcome area called the Castlefield Platform, a green and playful area called the Global Garden, and the Village Hub which provides an area for community growing.

The midway point on the viaduct would become the Strawberry Garden, taking inspiration from the 19th-century lost recreation gardens of Cornbrook, while designs the latter half of the viaduct take advantage of the open-air views, with the absence of the viaduct’s over-head iron girders, offering elevated vistas across the city from The Lookout.

Credit: BDP

The Cottonopolis area takes inspiration from Manchester’s industrial past before the Pomona Walk leads visitors through treetops and on towards Pomona Island.

Vision is a direct response to public feedback from viaduct visitors and the local community who took part in a series of workshops, events and an online survey.

The National Trust has worked with Building Design Partnership to share what the viaduct could look like under the new proposed plans, subject to planning approval.

Credit: BDP

Nichola Jacques, Castlefield Viaduct Project Manager at the National Trust, says: “We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who fed into these plans and designs by visiting the viaduct over the last 18 months, joining workshops and completing our online questionnaire. It’s clear to see that the community want the viaduct to reach beyond its potential in the future, not only benefitting people and nature but also establishing itself as part of Manchester’s DNA.

“These plans mark the start of our next era for the viaduct; a bigger, bolder and more beneficial green space. This won’t happen without big investment, and we hope these plans will now encourage more funders and supporters to come on board and work with us to achieve this for the city.”

The viaduct will remain open to members of the public throughout 2024, with no need to book in advance. The National Trust says it is now seeking investment in order to complete the next stage of development. You can stay up to date on the project’s progress here.

Castlefield Viaduct
Bradley Lengden
Published on:
Fri 7 Jun 2024