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Future plans for Castlefield Viaduct revealed

The National Trust has today revealed plans for the long-term future of the Castlefield Viaduct ‘sky park’ in Manchester.

The BDP-designed masterplan, termed the ‘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 in autumn 2023. Plans include several entry and exit points to the viaduct and a walkway giving access towards Salford and Trafford. 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.


In the Vision, seven 'character’ areas have been identified as part of the future viaduct. 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, all feature in the designs. The midway point on the viaduct would become the Strawberry Garden, taking inspiration from the 19th century lost recreation gardens of Cornbrook. Designs for the latter half of the viaduct take advantage of the open-air views, with the absence of the viaduct’s over-head iron girders which only cover the first part of the structure, offering elevated vistas across the city from The Lookout. The Cottonopolis area takes inspiration from Manchester’s industrial past, before the Pomona Walk leads visitors through treetops and on towards Pomona Island.

The National Trust is now actively seeking investors and funders to support the plans and secure a future for the urban park.


The conservation charity opened the viaduct in July 2022 as a pilot to gauge public opinion on the future of the Manchester landmark. Members of the public and local community have shown strong support for the viaduct, wanting the Grade II listed structure to remain open as an accessible green space for people and nature. The plans for Castlefield Viaduct are part of the National Trust’s Urban Places work to increase access to parks and green spaces in and around urban areas, so that more people are in easy reach of quiet places with wide open skies.

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.”

Landscape architects from Manchester based design practice, BDP, were appointed in 2023 to work with the Trust, partners and the community to develop plans for the future of the viaduct. Over 1,000 local people took part in workshops, events and an online survey in late 2023 to share their views which have fed into the community-led designs.

Darrell Wilson, Landscape Architect at BDP, says: “The art of landscape architecture is to bring city spaces to life, connecting people and nature and adding prosperity and activity. There is no better example of this in the UK than this vision for Castlefield Viaduct. We designed this project with people in mind but crucially, with people involved so it is a reflection of the diverse and vibrant communities of Manchester. We are so excited to see it become a reality.”

The viaduct will remain open to members of the public throughout 2024, with no need to book in advance.



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