Roman Gardens, Castlefield
Welcome to the future, two thousand years ago. You’re standing right in the heart of Roman Manchester, just outside the North Gate. But wait…
…today, it’s spring 2015, and no errands for your General. Instead, you’re checking your smartphone as you sit in the sun. It’s your lunchbreak and soon you soon have to return to work.
Come into our gardens: Castlefield would like to meet you.
Our plans are ambitious. We will deliver a world-class urban space that ties together the 2,000-year-old Roman heritage of the site with the modern day city. We want to delight people who use the gardens, whatever their age, whatever month they visit and whatever time of day they happen to meander through. This will be a beautiful space to walk through, to relax in, to read a book, take in some sunshine, pick some growbox herbs, meet your friends for a drink in the dappled summer sun or walk your dog on a crisp winter morning.
What we’ll do:
- Open up the site and make it fully accessible, 24 hours a day
- Clear away the scrubby areas but retain the healthy trees
- Light the area appropriately at night
- Introduce a rain garden, new trees, wildfllowers, Roman plants, a rain garden and raised community grow boxes
- New landscaping and sculpting of some grassed areas; gentle slopes will invite children to play
- Replace the broken and muddy pathways with recycled Yorkstone from the site
- Mark out the pathway of the Roman road with a timeline etched into the surface
- Introduce some more formal relaxation spaces for the adjoining public houses
Why it’s a great idea:
Think big, aim high. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver an amazing, inspiring urban retreat for Manchester. Being located at the entrance to the Roman North Gate, the site is also of great historical importance. We want to do the Gardens justice. At the moment, they are sad and tired.
We want to make the most of this exciting space. We want a space that encourages children, families, local residents and tourists to visit. A space that has seating and allows relaxation. A green lung. A space that has simple, well-presented trees, planting and foliage. It’s important that the planting provides interest all year round, which will be through flowers, leaves, fruit and foliage. Trees and pathways will be lit at night, to give the Gardens some sense of excitement; you will always feel safe whatever time it is.
We will work with Greater Manchester Archaeological Advisory Service to hold a series of community digs to uncover more about the Roman heritage of the Gardens.
How we’ll get it done:
- In partnership with BDP architects and Manchester Garden City, we have drawn up a masterplan
- Working with local businesses and key stakeholders such as Manchester City Council, we have consulted on the masterplan
- We are ready to take our plans forward by working them up into the final design
- We will work with our network of community volunteers and the National Trust
- We will carry out some of the preparatory work with help from our volunteers
- The bulk of the work will be done by a major contractor
- Once the Gardens are complete, we will maintain them with our network of volunteers