Castlefield Viaduct Park Rendering 2, National Trust, C Twelve Architects & Masterplanners
The city council and GMCA have voiced their support c.Twelve Architects & Masterplanners

GALLERY | Castlefield viaduct could become urban park

Julia Hatmaker

The National Trust is working with Highways England’s Historical Railways Estate team to transform the 1892 Manchester viaduct into a public space.

Images created by Twelve Architects & Masterplanners showcase the National Trust’s long-term vision for the park. Locals are invited to share their thoughts on the plans at a series of public consultations in June and July.

Click image to launch gallery. All images by Twelve Architects & Masterplanners.

The National Trust is aiming to test ideas for the space by opening the viaduct as a temporary park in summer of 2022. That, of course, is subject to planning approval – which the trust will apply for this autumn.

“National Trust houses, gardens and outdoor places in the North West welcome over a million visitors every year,” said Mike Innerdale, regional director for the North at the National Trust. “However, we understand that these places can be hard to reach for people who live closer to the city and access to good quality green space in urban areas is limited.

“The viaduct gives us an opportunity to create an accessible green space for the 50,000 residents living within a twenty-minute walk of the area of Castlefield,” he continued. “As well as transforming the viaduct into a green space for people, we recognise the viaduct’s importance to Manchester’s history and the need to protect it.

“Transforming the viaduct into an urban park will bring together nature, history and beauty which the National Trust was set up to protect 126 years ago.”

Castlefield Viaduct Park Aerial, National Trust, Twelve Architects & Masterplanners

Aerial view of proposed Castlefields viaduct plan c.Twelve Architects & Masterplanners

Both Manchester City Council and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority have voiced their support for the scheme.

“The Castlefield Viaduct is such an iconic part of Manchester’s heritage, so it’s fantastic to see the National Trust’s plans for breathing new life into this landmark and I look forward to working with them to make this a reality,” said Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.

“Greater Manchester’s parks and green spaces have been a lifeline over the pandemic, and we’ve all been reminded of how important access to nature is, which is why I’m committed to creating greener, more liveable communities. This project could make a big contribution to this goal – and help revitalise our city’s heritage at the same time.”

Plans have been in the works to transform Castlefield viaduct for several years. In 2012, local residents worked with architects BDP to come up with park designs for the space after being inspired by New York City’s High Line.

The National Trust began work on this new scheme in January 2020, bringing on Twelve Architects towards the end of the year. It is unknown how much the viaduct project will cost to bring to life, but the National Trust did say that basic restoration of it would cost several million pounds. The trust is looking for financial help for the project.

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A positive news story, thanks PNW!

By Raimondo

Brilliant news. It’s been a long time coming. I hope they full restore the whole viaduct and give the actual structure some much needed TLC. Sounds promising now that the National Trust are behind it

By Steve

Brilliant news, I remember hearing plans for a highline around 2014 I think it was, but it all went quiet. Hopefully this comes off and similar can be done around Victoria and the Green Quarter.

By Bob

Would be good to get an update on the Victoria North High Line as well. Also what is happening with the Great Northern redevelopment proposals, weren’t they removing the car park and doing something similar?

By Anonymous

Terrific news. This is the perfect place for this with the Skyscraper quarter and Castlefield nearby as backdrops.Good transport links too. With imagination this could be spectacular.

By Elephant

Its about time! A bit of grass up there as well wouldn’t hurt

By Chris

Anonymous: That’s a great idea! We’ll look into both Victoria North Highline and Great Northern. Watch this space. Thanks for the suggestion!

By Julia Hatmaker

Hope it comes to fruition with the National Trust on board it should help. Maybe apply to the lottery fund for a grant

By Michael Anthony Newell

This is great news it’s being put to good use. This bridge has been left abandoned for many years.

By Darren.

Great use of a fantastic structure, and another city centre green space.

By Anonymous

Hopefully closely followed by a phase 2 that connects round to the Bridgewater Way and the River Irwell. Would create a stunning green artery into the city centre!

By Ste

They should focus on the old railway line that borders the river erk it runs for 2 miles and connects with a pack at the other end. That way they create a green corridor from the city centre outwards.

By Karl steele

Lovely idea but what would happen to the metrolink as trams to eccles would be impacted

By Callum

Get it done!

By Disgruntled Goat

This is brilliant news for Castlefield but considering we have some excellent landscape architects in Manchester using a London-based architectural practice for the project is a short-sighted choice by the National Trust.

By Anonymous

This impresses, it is impressive, I am impressed.

By Anonymous