Manchester's Castlefield Viaduct to create more green space in the heart of the city

Video report by ITV Granada Reports journalist Paul Crone.

A Victorian viaduct in Manchester is undergoing renovations to bring more green space and nature to the heart of the city.

Built in 1892, the imposing 330-metre steel and iron ore Castlefield Viaduct was originally built to carry heavy rail traffic in and out of the Great Northern Warehouse.

But it has ended up becoming an unmistakable fixture in the city's skyline.

Due to open in July, the £1.8 million project will transform the victorian structure, which ha say idle, into a green space that stretches halfway across the elevation of the viaduct.

Trees, flowers and shrubs will be planted to bring new life.

It's being turned into a new urban sky park. Credit: National Trust

Sophie Wardell from the National Trust said: "We really want to bring people up into the space and give them a chance to see it as it is now; to see this remarkable Grade II listed structure; to see some of the wild strawberries, the rare orchids; and to see how nature's taken over in the last 60 years."

The plans are part of the National Trust’s Urban Places work to increase access to parks and green spaces in and around urban areas.

The trust says 80% of people in the UK live in cities and towns, so the initiative aims to give more people access to quiet places with wide open skies.

The National Trust says it's hoped people can 'step back' from city life. Credit: National Trust

Russ Forshaw from Manchester and Cheshire Construction said: "You can feel the history it's unique in terms of projects on the way in Manchester at the moment.

"It's definitely one of a kind, and it's an opportunity for us to leave our mark on the city."

Sophie added: "We really want people to come up here and have a chance to get their nature fix right in the heart of the city and to really step back from the busy day today of city life. The planned park certainly has the potential to thrill adults and children alike.

"We're really excited that this is a chance to look back to really understand what this structure was in its heyday, why it was built, how it was built, but then to look forward and think about: 'Right you know, it's not been new since the sixties. What can it become and what can it be of value for the future?'"

It is hoped the Sky Park will be completed in the next couple of years.