National Trust prepares to open new ‘park in the sky’ to the public in Manchester this week

  • Sky park built by National Trust set to open on Saturday 


Manchester’s Castlefield Viaduct is set to open on Saturday after the National Trust took on the project to renovate and create an inner city greenspace. 

More than 300m of the viaduct underwent a transformation in the last five months. MMC construction company, 12 architects, four partners and many gardening specialists were employed to put together a space for people to enjoy. 

The space, which has been closed to the public for the last 50 years, will allow forvisitors to explore the history of the viaduct all year round. The National Trust has created the outdoor space as a learning experience about the history of the viaduct and its surrounding landmarks. 

The agricultural specialists, inspired by New York’s High Line public park, created the design so that it will change with the seasons. More than 3,000 different plant species have been used in the design to introduce urban greenery into the heart of the city. 

The development cost around £1.8m and was fundraised by the People’s Postcode lottery and other charity donations, with the hope that it will remain a permanent part of Manchester’s skyline. 

Around 50,000 people live within walking distance of the site. Gabrielle Colvin, who has lived in the city centre for a year, said: “It’s just fantastic news to hear that this is happening.

“The convenience of the city centre is in constant competition with areas that have easy access to a green space, and now the two are combined I can’t wait to make the most of it.

“To have a place that makes the most of Manchester’s existing space that can allow for there to be a moment of peace in the hustle and bustle of the city.”  

Hilary McGrady, director general of the National Trust, said: “We hope hundreds of people will visit and enjoy spending time in nature among the trees, shrubs and wildlife that is already starting to make this space its home. “We’ll also be able to learn from this project and really start to understand more about what and how we can bring more green spaces and wildlife to thousands more people across the country in urban spaces.

“The plans for Castlefield Viaduct are part of the National Trust’s Urban Places work to increase access for all to nature, history and beauty in, around and near urban areas.”

Director at City of Trees, Jessica Thompson, stated: “It’s ironic that timber from trees played such an important role in supporting the Industrial Revolution which has now led us down the path to climate change.

“We hope that the sky park will inspire visitors to plant more trees and help protect the ones that we are already blessed with in Greater Manchester.” 

Visiting the outdoor space will be free, however booking will be required to manage the number of visitors per day, a system that is different to other National Trust experiences.