The Helix Park is ready to welcome its first visitors

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A spectacular new parkland will open to the public on Saturday as the first phase of The Helix project nears completion.

The Falkirk Herald was given an exclusive tour of the Helix Park this week ahead of its opening to the public on Saturday at 1 p.m.

The Lagoon and Plaza cafe at the new Helix Park. Picture: Michael Gillen

The Lagoon and Plaza cafe at the new Helix Park. Picture: Michael Gillen

Located just a few hundred yards to the west of The Falkirk Stadium - between the A9 and A904 roads that link Falkirk and Grangemouth - the 43-hectare site has been transformed from a patchwork of wasteland to a landscaped place of beauty.

The park was designed by Ironside Farrar Limited, an Edinburgh-based architectural firm that specialises in environmental projects. But its layout was also influenced by a series of public consultations with local residents.

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As a result of their feedback, the series of pathways through the park are well-lit and can easily accommodate joggers, cyclists or those who prefer to take a leisurely stroll.

The most striking features of the new park is undoubtedly the Great Lawn and Lagoon.

The former is a landscaped grassland that forms a natural amphitheatre which is capable of hosting outdoor concerts for up to 12,000 people.

The Lagoon, which is 200 metres across, is a man-made lake and the park’s focal point.

Members of the public will be able to take part in supervised canoeing and kayaking sessions on it this Saturday.

Although most of the area is unrecognisible from the way it looked a few years ago, its natural wetlands have been preserved.

A boardwalk has been erected to allow you to stroll through the six-feet tall reeds. It’s a great chance to spot some of the numerous varieties of wildlife that populate the area.

The park is not yet complete, and work will continue on several features until the Helix’s grand opening next summer, including on the giant Kelpie heads, which remain off-limits.

The visitor centre and Plaza cafe will also not open until next year.

But members of the public are reminded that from this Saturday the park will be open permanently - and they can finally see for themselves what the Helix is all about.