What is the HArTT route?
The HArTT route (Helix Around Town Tour) is a challenging 28.6km
(17.77m) route that uses Falkirk Council's fantastic path/cycle
networks to complete a circular tour of the Falkirk area taking in
the Helix, home of the Kelpies, Forth and Clyde canal, Falkirk
Wheel, Union Canal, Callendar Park and Westquarter Glen before
making its way back to the Helix. The route has only one very short
road section that is little used by traffic. There are several road
crossings and 3 sections where pavements next to busy roads are
utilised to link the route. These should be treated with caution,
especially if cycling with children. There are several elevation
changes and uses a variety of terrain, from purpose built cycle
paths to canal tow paths and even some short single track sections.
The overall ascent is 194m (637ft).
Who's it for?
It's for everyone but we suggest you are on a mountain bike as
there are some rough and sometimes muddy sections. There are
several hills that require an out the seat effort, or push, so
gears would be helpful. Reasonably fit cyclists could whizz around
it in less than 2 hours, where families and novice cyclists could
take all day and have numerous opportunities to stop along the
We recommend starting at the Kelpies, completing it an
anti-clockwise direction. You can park in Kelpies Car Park or Helix
Car Park. This is the best for following signage and making
the steepest sections downhill! You will need brakes!!
Before setting off, look for these signs which will help
you stay on track on the way around the route:
Start off from the Kelpies and go over the Forth and Clyde's
Lock 3 taking you to the opposite side of the canal. As you go over
the lock, make a right taking you back towards The Kelpies.
Continue to follow the signage and map.
After approximately 3.5 miles/5.6km you reach the rugby fields
which you will see on the right. Continue along the path and up
towards the crossing at the main road. See the image below for the
signage post and bike showing the direction to go.
Dismount and cross the road shown in the picture below. Once
across snake around from left to right until you are next to the
road. Continue uphill and back towards the main road, picking up
the HArTT route sign and continuing along the route towards Falkirk
When you approach the Falkirk Wheel, make a left across the
bridge towards the Wheel as shown on the image below. You can of
course stop here to recharge should you wish. Visit the Falkirk Wheel website for more
NOTE: there is a HArTT sign pointing towards Bonnybridge
and Bowling by the canal so please don't be confused by this,
simply make a left over the bridge.
Continue the path uphill to the Union Canal. This part of the
route gives a lovely view of the Ochil Hills.
Carefully make your way through the Roughcastle Tunnel (below).
Your bell and lights might come in handy here!
When you come towards the Falkirk Tunnel make a left picking up
the HArTT signage, staying on the unsealed path to the right of the
Falkirk high station car park.
This leads you to a main road. Make an immediate left, crossing
the road at the next HArTT sign and continuing on your route.
After 8.3 miles/13.3km you'll cross the busy Glen Brae road. We
recommend you turn right then cross to join the uphill path shortly
After cutting through between a play park you're on your way
into Callendar woods and Callendar park. The route is fast and
slightly rough dropping quickly. After a gradual uphill there is a
very fast descent on a sealed path. Brakes essential for the right
turn at the bottom that leads to Callendar House, which is free to
enter and has a tea room
The Kelpies! Look where you've come from. At Callendar House
you've now done more than 10 miles/16km.
Soon after the house the route climbs up through Callendar
woods. This can be muddy in sections. Once out of the park a
downhill takes you out to New Hallglan road which must be crossed.
Once across turn right along the pavement to the end of the crash
barrier. Go behind it and follow the single track section down to
the Westquarter burn then up again to the road.
From here stay on the pavement beside the busy Redding road.
Care should be taken especially if you have children.
After 12.5 miles/20.1km there is a road crossing just beyond a
bus stop that has a central island. Once across go back on yourself
then through a hole in the wall and look out for a bridge above a
lovely waterfall. You're now in Westquarter Glen.
Turn right over the bridge and negotiate a few steps before
single track leads you through the glen with the burn on your
right. Cross back over the burn by the bridge at the bottom of the
Once out of the Glen cross the river once again and climb up to
the main Polmont road.
Turn left and stay on the pavement, crossing the road to join
the Sandy Loan. This is the only road section on the route and is
short lived. At the T junction turn right and down a very steep
hill then under the A9. Just before the top of the hill there is a
great view north to the Kelpies.
After a couple a flat but sometimes windy section on purpose
built cycle paths you'll arrive at a small cottage on the
Laurieston road. The signage is very misleading here. Do not turn
right as the road is narrow and used regularly by HGV's. Instead
stay on the path and continue on the cycle track until just before
the roundabout on the A9 where you cross the road and continue on
the same cycle path heading towards Falkirk Stadium
Do not cross the A9 but turn right towards Falkirk Stadium. At
its entrance road turn right and follow the cycle path……..you're
almost back at the Helix!
Veer left here
The right shortly after looking for a disused railway bridge
that'll you'll go under and into the Helix.
Once in the Helix turn left and over towards the lagoon, splash
play, adventure zone and Plaza Café.
We then recommend you go over the boardwalk which involves a
short dismount for safety reasons which takes you back to your
Well done you! You deserve a refuel at the Visitor