Every year, the Keep Britain Tidy campaign hosts Love Parks Week. This provides an opportunity to celebrate our local parks, green spaces and the hardworking individuals who maintain them. The campaign this year run from 28 July to 6 August.
In fact, in today’s world of screen-reliance, taking a step back from technology, into a natural space can be one of the most beneficial things we can do. Having the chance to disconnect from everything, and enjoy where you are. And for the 1 in every 8 households in Britain who don’t have access to a private or shared garden, public parks can be a life-changing resource.
That’s why Elliott Partridge, Account Executive at Copper Consultancy’s Manchester office, took the opportunity this Love Parks Week to celebrate the Castlefield Viaduct – a veritable garden in the sky.
The Castlefield Viaduct project is a temporary pilot scheme which the National Trust operates. It involves the transformation of the Victorian railway viaduct which runs through Deansgate-Castlefield – now running beside the Metrolink line. This scheme is a charming cohabitation of old and new, transforming a sustainable, biodiverse green space that can be used by anybody.
The Viaduct was originally closed in 1969 and has since been partly reclaimed by natural plant growth. Seizing the opportunity to use the space for a rewilding project unlike any other in the North, The National Trust work with local partners to create a unique garden space for exploration and relaxation. There’s even a hub building at the far end of the viaduct, which is available for hosting events.
Reducing the carbon footprint of the construction and the running of the viaduct involved many steps. For example, sourcing peat-free compost for the garden as well as, growing all the plants in peat-free environments. The wealth of flora in the gardens creates a biodiverse habitat for insects, especially bees, and bats use the underside of the viaduct for roosting.
Having been to the sky park on a sunny day in May, Elliott found himself immediately falling in love with the space. It combines gorgeous views of the city, the calming sounds of trams passing, and lovely aromas of the plant life. Manchester, lacking in green spaces within the city centre, is now more rich with the Castlefield Viaduct as part of its tapestry.
The Viaduct’s bid to remain open until the tail-end of 2024 has recently been approved by the Manchester City Council. However, plans for the next stage of the scheme go far further: to create a connector between Deansgate, Salford and Trafford. This will quadruple the length of the current sky garden! The National Trust are seeking around £20 million in funding to make these proposals a reality. This scheme would secure a safe, vibrant green space for Manchester residents.
Entry is free for everybody! However, please note pre-booking is required for guided tours and they are only available between 11:00 and 13:00.
You can find out more about the Castlefield Viaduct at Visit Manchester.