After a successful pilot last summer, Manchester’s Castlefield Viaduct will reopen to the public later this month – hopefully for good.
The National Trust opened the viaduct last July to test public opinion on the new landmark, which ended up attracting more than 10,000 visitors in its first four months.
It was opened with the hope that it could connect residents of Manchester with nature and eventually encourage people to develop their own urban areas.
Four plots of the viaduct have now been handed over to different local groups and partner organisations for them to develop their own unique garden spaces ahead of the reopening.
One of these new plots is an urban forest garden from Hulme Community Garden Centre which boasts a canopy of dwarf family fruit trees, a shrub layer of blackcurrant and cranberry, kiwi climbers and more.
Kath Gavin, Sustainability Co-ordinator at Hulme Community Garden Centre, said: “We combine an environmentally conscious garden centre, organic gardens, and hands-on educational activities, to provide the inspiration and practical means for people to green up their local spaces and provide for wildlife in the city.
“Our mini forest garden demonstrates how visitors to the viaduct can re-connect with nature on their doorstep whilst growing nutritious additions to their diet for improved health and well-being.”
The sky park has been applauded for repurposing a part of Manchester’s industrial history in a way that connects its people to nature. National Trust also hopes to source members of the public who have historical connections to the Manchester landmark to develop the viaduct’s background story.
Due to the unprecedented demand last summer tickets sold out quickly and waiting lists grew.
To avoid this same problem occurring a second time, guided walk visits will still be available in the morning, but from 1pm onwards visitors will be able to show up without a booking on the day – subject to capacity restrictions.
Rebecca Alexander, Castlefield Viaduct Visitor Operations & Experience Manager, said: “By introducing a new way for visitors to explore the viaduct at their own leisure, we hope that even more people will benefit from this green space in the heart of Manchester and support us in shaping its future.”
The Castlefield viaduct will reopen on Saturday 18 February, tickets available here.