Manchester’s new sky garden

Take a railway viaduct that’s stood dormant for decades and turn it into a brand new green space. Does that sound like a good idea?

Well it’s happened here in Manchester, right in the heart of my neighbourhood of Castlefield. This elevated platform has been turned into a space for all to enjoy. 

Take a look at the images and I’ll tell you more below. Please share your thoughts!

Tap/click first image to see gallery

Castlefield Viaduct was built in 1892 to carry rail traffic to and from the mighty industrial city of Manchester and was eventually closed in 1969. Fast forward to 2022 and this lofty structure has been given a new lease of life with a smooth pavement to carry many pairs of feet.

Elegant gardens featuring a wealth of plants line the walkway – even silver birch trees nestle among the weathered might of the viaduct.

It’s a pleasure to explore the gardens with the expert input of National Trust guides, an organisation more associated with country estates than the heart of the city.

But as a local who’s been observing and photographing the local skyline for six years, I was really struck by the fresh perspective the viaduct provides. New high rise developments like Deansgate Square wrestle with the framework of the structure, and you really sense how old and new Manchester sit together.

The ‘sky garden’ is being piloted for a year and visitors are being asked which direction this slice of nature in the city should take in the future. For starters, there’s another stretch that’s yet to be reclaimed – the possibilities are many!

Visits to the Castlefield Viaduct can be pre-booked here.

Link to mikeosbornphoto's Manchester photo shop

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