Urban sky park opens on abandoned Manchester railway viaduct

Posted on 01 August 2022

urban sky park

An urban sky park has opened to the public on the site of a disused railway viaduct in Manchester.

The 330m long steel structure has been transformed over the past five years by Salford-based contractor MC Construction.

Stretching 330m long the former railway viaduct now features an elevated park with trees, plants and flowers following the National Trust-led project. It opened to the public on Saturday (30 July).

The railway viaduct was built in 1892 by Heenan and Froude, the engineers who worked on Blackpool Tower. It was used as part of a freight route, transporting goods across the structure to the Great Northern Warehouse until it was closed in the late 1960s.

The park will be open for 12 months, during which time visitors will be able to explore part of the structure and find out more about the viaduct’s heritage, the city’s long relationship with plants and trees, and learn urban gardening tips.

MC Construction group operations director Russ Forshaw said: “Regenerating the disused Grade II listed Viaduct that has stood above the historic area of Castlefield for over 125 years has been no easy task.

“I am thrilled with the end result and I am incredibly proud of the team who have worked tirelessly over the past couple of months to bring National Trust’s vision to life.”

National Trust director general Hilary McGrady added: “Today is incredibly exciting. The idea of transforming the viaduct has been around for a while, but it was always put in the ‘too hard to achieve’ box and set aside.

“For that long-held vision to finally come to life is therefore testament to the strong partnerships we have formed and the hard work of many.”

She added: “What I love about this space is that it encapsulates so much of what the Trust’s work is about: opening up our shared heritage for everyone to enjoy, creating beautiful spaces and bringing people close to nature. It’s about creating something new for the community, while also protecting an ironic piece of industrial history.

“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.”

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