An urban sky park has recently been unveiled to the public in Manchester, transforming the site of a former disused railway viaduct into a breathtaking recreational space. Spanning an impressive length of 330 meters, the steel structure underwent a remarkable metamorphosis over the course of five years, guided by the expertise of Salford-based contractor MC Construction. Now, thanks to a project spearheaded by the National Trust, the elevated park stands as a testament to architectural ingenuity and environmental conservation, boasting an enchanting display of trees, plants, and flowers that have been captivating visitors since its grand opening on July 30th.
The railway viaduct, originally constructed in 1892 by the celebrated engineers Heenan and Froude, who were also instrumental in the creation of the iconic Blackpool Tower, served as a vital freight route for transporting goods to the Great Northern Warehouse until its closure in the late 1960s. Today, for a limited period of 12 months, curious visitors have the extraordinary opportunity to explore a portion of the viaduct's historic structure, immersing themselves in its rich heritage and unravelling the profound connection that Manchester has forged with plants and trees throughout its storied past. Additionally, these inquisitive guests can glean invaluable insights into the realm of urban gardening, discovering innovative techniques to cultivate green spaces amidst bustling cityscapes.
MC Construction's group operations director, Russ Forshaw, exudes immense pride and satisfaction with the final outcome of this formidable endeavour, remarking, "Regenerating the disused Grade II listed Viaduct that has stood majestically above the historic Castlefield area for over 125 years has been an arduous task of monumental proportions. However, the result we have achieved is truly exceptional, a testament to the unwavering dedication and tireless efforts of our exceptional team. Together, we have worked diligently in recent months to breathe life into the National Trust's inspiring vision."
Hilary McGrady, the director general of the National Trust, exclaims her exhilaration and jubilation as she reflects on the completion of this groundbreaking project, stating, "Today marks an extraordinary milestone, an occasion teeming with excitement and promise. The notion of transforming the viaduct has been a cherished dream harboured for a significant period, but the complexity of the endeavour had always relegated it to the realm of seemingly unattainable aspirations. Yet, now, witnessing the fruition of this long-held vision serves as a testament to the profound relationships we have forged and the remarkable dedication of countless individuals involved in this collaborative effort."
McGrady further explains, "What makes this urban sky park truly exceptional is its embodiment of the very essence of the National Trust's mission. It transcends the boundaries of heritage preservation and environmental conservation, captivating visitors with its enchanting beauty and affording them the opportunity to forge a deeper connection with the natural world. This transformative space not only revitalizes the community but also safeguards a poignant piece of industrial history. As hundreds of individuals flock to this ethereal haven, surrounded by an abundance of trees, shrubs, and the burgeoning wildlife that has already made this place its home, we hope they will relish in the tranquillity it offers. Furthermore, this ambitious project will grant us valuable insights, enabling us to comprehend better how we can create more green spaces and provide habitats for wildlife in urban areas across the country, benefiting thousands more people and nurturing a harmonious relationship between humanity and the natural world."