The Story behind The Helix
The idea for The Helix was first suggested in 2003/04 when plans
to build an 'eco-park' as part of the Falkirk Greenspace Initiative
began to take shape. In 2014, The Helix will fully open, launching
a Living Landmark for the Falkirk district, on 350ha of land
between Falkirk and Grangemouth.
How did the Helix make it from concept to construction, and what
is it's purpose?
To create a new greenspace within the Falkirk District, that
successfully connects the 16 communities on it's periphery,
creating a new place for those communities to share and enjoy.
The Helix will
be a Living Landmark, providing a world class visitor destination
paired with a world class piece of public art - The Kelpies. This
350ha space will be used by local, regional and national visitors
as a place to be healthy, to explore, to grow and to learn.
With a total budget worth £43 million, we will deliver
significant infrastructure improvements, including reconnecting the
Forth & Clyde Canal to the Forth River via a major new canal
extension to a more suitable part of the River Carron.
Our funding partners include: BIG Lottery, Scottish Canals,
SCORE, Sustrans, Falkirk Environment Trust & Falkirk
What has The Helix achieved so far?
Kelpies, two 30 metre high stainless steel statues that are the
vanguard of The Helix
- A kilometre of
new canal with towpaths creating a safe new connection to
- 27 kilometres of shared
access, high quality pathways connecting 16
- a new activities
- a new splash
- a new timber
- a new
- a new
- a new LED lit event
space and stage
LED lighting for at least 14 kilometres of those new
- two new toucan road
crossings and a new road underbridge
- a new wetland
- a new group of Nordic Walkers, bringing a new health
activity to the area
- over 120 trained Nordic Walkers & over 30 trained walk
community projects, including a new beekeeping society (Helix Beekeepers),
Meet The Species events, The Abbotshaugh Sentinel
- 25 direct training places in woodland management
- hundreds of ongoing volunteer opportunities
- several high level events, including a Bike Week
Party and Helix
- a canal tunnel
under the M9 motorway
- two new pieces of
public art and the refurbishment of two existing pieces
- multiple jobs and contracts for local and national companies
- 12 full time operational jobs, with more to follow
- the development of a 16 mile cycle route connecting The
Helix, The Kelpies, The Falkirk Wheel and Callendar House.
The Helix is constantly growing and evolving, and there are
still quite a few things to be added to this list. Read on to learn
the history of The Helix.
A Living Landmark
In the summer of 2005, Big Lottery launched its Living
Landmarks fund, to help communities improve their local
environment. The My Futures in Falkirk partners decided to submit a
bid on behalf of The Helix.
Falkirk Council, Central Scotland Forest
Trust and British Waterways Scotland (now Scottish Canals), supported by
the project concept designers, prepared a detailed masterplan for a
unique outdoor greenspace which connected the communities of
Falkirk and Grangemouth, as well as 14 other communities.
The first Helix bid was submitted to the Big Lottery Fund in early
2006. In August that year, Big Lottery awarded the Helix a £250,000
development grant to work up a stage 2 submission. This would
enable the Helix to compete nationally for a grant of between £10
million and £25 million.
The Helix stage 2 bid was duly submitted by the deadline of May
The news everyone was hoping for arrived in November 2007 when
it was announced that The Helix had been awarded the maximum £25
It was one of only three UK projects selected to receive cash from
the Lottery's Living Landmarks programme.
From then on, it was all systems go. The whole of 2008 and much
of 2009 were spent finalising the phase one technical design and
business plan, both of which required Big Lottery approval.
Construction work began with Helix South in April 2011 - use
our construction timeline to
find out more.
A place to walk, cycle, run, skate, explore.
A big moment for the Helix project was the completion of our new
Helix South network of paths in June 2011. Over 600 local people
made the opening event a very
special occasion. The paths are being well used, providing over
12km of new or resurfaced paths, ideal for people to commute,
explore their local neighbourhood and get fit.
2012 saw the completion of the main access road into the site,
as well as the award of all the major construction contracts,
starting with the
canal link contract.
Since Spring 2012, The Helix landscape has undergone a dramatic,
not to say rapid, transformation as the key zones moved towards
completion. Find out about the 4 main Helix Zones here.
Helix Day - 14th September 2013
A huge event, marking the opening of Helix Park, the zone at the
heart of The Helix. Nearly 20,000 people attended the event, which
saw community art projects meet big named artists to create a
series of spectacles across the park. Since this event, Helix Park
has remained busy, packed with runners, dog walkers, Nordic
Walkers, cyclists, scooting youngsters and skaters.
Find out whats coming up at The
Helix. Or check out our Blog for current
The Story Ahead
Take a look at The Helix Map to see what we have to
offer, or look at Discover Helix to see how it
all fits together. Things to Do shows you what you
can get up to, while Plan Your Visit explains how
to get to us and what to expect when you arrive.