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Experience The Kelpies 21.04.14
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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?

Our Goal

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 Council.

What has The Helix achieved so far?

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 2007.

Landmark announcement

The news everyone was hoping for arrived in November 2007 when it was announced that The Helix had been awarded the maximum £25 million grant.

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.

Contracts

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. 

Coming Soon

Find out whats coming up at The Helix. Or check out our Blog for current news

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.