The official opening date of Manchester‘s New York-inspired ‘sky park’ at Castlefield Viaduct has now finally been confirmed.
After the National Trust announced its ambitious vision to create an urban green space in the heart of the city centre by tackling the challenge of “greening” the Grade II-listed Castlefield Viaduct and celebrate the history of this well-known landmark, it has now been revealed that visitors will be able to enjoy the park from next weekend.
Construction company MC Construction, Twelve Architects, and four local partners have been working with gardening specialists and apprentices at the National Trust to create the new park – with thousands of plants, shrubs, and trees having been planted over the past five months.
Now, less than half a year after work began to transform the giant 330-metre steel viaduct into an elevated park, the finishing touches are being made.
The temporary urban park at Castlefield Viaduct will open to the public on Saturday 30 July.
The park will be or the next 12 months, with green spaces stretching across the elevation, and during this time, visitors will have the opportunity 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.
You’ll also get to experience a variety of planting displays as you walk along the viaduct while enjoying the elevated setting above the historic cobbled streets, according to the National Trust, and see the park “develop, evolve, and respond” with the changing seasons.
The plans for Castlefield Viaduct are part of the National Trust’s work to “increase access” for everyone to nature, history and beauty in, around, and near urban areas.
The Castlefield Viaduct dates back to 1892 and was built by Heenan and Froude – the same engineers who worked on Blackpool Tower – but the site closed in the late 1960s, and before the National Trust took over and began to add over 3,000 plants, shrubs, trees, and more, it had sadly been left derelict.
The industrial heritage of Castlefield has been reflected through all elements of the design of the park.
The National Trust says the design of the planters at the new park gives “a subtle nod” to the industrial architecture of the viaduct, and mirrors the curve of the railway tracks that once transported goods across the structure to the Great Northern Warehouse.
A section of the viaduct has also been left untouched to “provide a sense of how nature has reclaimed the space” since the site closed.
Speaking ahead of the park officially opening to the public next Saturday, Andy Jasper – National Head of Gardens & Parklands at the National Trust – said: “Creating a garden on an industrial heritage structure such as this is new territory for us and we have created a test bed that represents how the park in the sky might be, if the people of Manchester want it.
“With more than 3,000 individual plants planted in completely peat free growing media over the past couple of months, we’ve been literally trialling new planting techniques as we go – working with limited growing depths and thinking about how these plants will deal with the more challenging conditions of being 17 metres in the air.
“I cannot wait to see what people say, and I am intrigued to see how the plant life will take in its new surroundings.”
Duncan Laird – Head of Urban Places at the National Trust – added: “This has been an intensely busy few months as we prepared to open the doors of the pilot project, and we are incredibly excited to finally be able to open this space for people to visit for the first time in over 50 years.
“As the trees and plants start to bed in and grow it will slowly begin to match the vision for this space, and we will be keenly listening to visitor feedback that we will use to shape the ongoing evolution of the viaduct.
“We’re at the start of the journey – not the end.”
100 people a day will be able to visit the Castlefield Viaduct from Saturday 30 July.
Entry onto the structure will be free, but a booking system will be in place to help manage numbers, and as part of the experience, visitors will be able to join guided walks – with plans to host various community events, workshops, and consultations in the pipeline.
Featured Image – Howard Bristol (via National Trust)
Bernardo Silva refused to speak to Bruno Fernandes during the FA Cup final
The first-ever Manchester Derby FA Cup final in history was always going to be an acrimonious affair, but one flare-up fans might not have expected came between midfielders Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva.
Man City took one step closer to winning the treble on Saturday — a feat which would see them equal United’s treasured achievement in 1999 — but at half-time, Bernardo Silva’s derby day mentality was well and truly locked in as the two Portuguese players had a little spat on the pitch.
With the United captain walking up to share a few words with his international teammate as they went to walk down the tunnel, City’s number 20 had no interest in chatting with his compatriot.
In fact, in a moment picked up by the cameras on the day, Bernardo not only did his best to ignore Bruno but even shoved him away when his opposite numbers tried to get his attention.
That’s an icy blue cold shoulder if we’ve ever seen one.
Moreover, while Fernandes has previously insisted he has “a great relationship with Bernardo” and that the two share regular WhatsApp messages throughout the season, he did admit ahead of that game they “normally don’t speak” until after the full-time whistle these days.
That being said, it would seem only Silva got the derby day memo this time around and, much like City have been on the pitch for a good five or six seasons now, he chose to remain ruthless and quite literally push his friendship to the side.
Although seeing rival players (often fellow countrymen or ex-teammates) greeting and hugging each other before, during and after a game is much more commonplace these days, it’s still one that split opinion — especially if you’re Roy Keane.
The United legend has previously slammed a number of players from his former club for being far too friendly in the tunnel before going up against each other — including in a Manchester derby not long ago — stating that they need to “cut that” and “just get down the tunnel”.
Nevertheless, it looks as though the more cutthroat attitude helped the Blues on the day, scoring within 13 seconds to set the tone for the rest of the game.
Pep Guardiola‘s side now only needs to win one more game, the Champions League final against Inter Milan this weekend, to do the treble and put themselves even deeper into the history books than they already are. Either way, many already believe Pep will go down as the greatest of all time.
Holly Willoughby delivers honest and emotional statement addressing Phillip Schofield scandal on This Morning return
Holly Willoughby has officially addressed the ongoing Phillip Schofield scandal on her return to This Morning on Monday.
Making her first appearance since the pair both dropped off the show following Schofield’s admission that he had a relationship with a younger man who worked on the show, his former co-presenter jumped straight into the issue at the top of the show.
“Firstly, are you OK? I hope so. It feels very strange sitting here without Phil and I know that you might be feeling a lot like I have: shaken, troubled, let down, worried for the wellbeing on all sides of what’s been going on, and have lots of questions.
“You, me and all of us at This Morning gave our love and support to someone who was not telling the truth, who acted in a way that they themselves felt they had to resign from ITV and step down from a career they loved. That is a lot to process and it’s equally hard to see the toll that has taken on their own mental health.”
The 42-year-old went on to say, “I think what unites us all now is a desire to heal for the health and wellbeing of everyone. I hope that as we start this new chapter and get back to a place of warmth and magic that this show holds for all of us, we can find strength in each other.
“From my heart, can I just say thank you for all your kind messages and thank you for being here this morning. Myself, Josie, Dermot, Alison, Craig and everyone who works on this show will continue to work hard every single day to bring you the show that we love.”
Stand-in host Josie Gibson then hugged Holly and said: “All we can do now is be the family that we are”.
After making it through the statement, Holly and Josie then jumped back into the regularly scheduled programming as usual.
As for the scandal itself, Schofield recently gave an exclusive interview with the BBC admitting that his “career is over” and had “suicidal thoughts” after the story broke, as well as insisting that he hasn’t spoken with Holly since apart from sending her an apology via text following his own statement.
The 61-year-old continues to deny allegations that he groomed the man he maintained a relationship with for a number of years but ITV has stated that they are continuing to investigate the situation following his resignation.