Falkirk’s fantastic path network has earned it a place on the shortlist for the UK’s Best Walking Neighbourhood, as nominated by The Ramblers.
By Kirsty Paterson
Friday, 7th June 2019, 6:02 pm
The paths have been carefully developed over 20 years, using the remnants of Falkirk’s industrial past to forge an incredible network that has something to offer everyone; from short walks with children to hikes deep into the countryside, plus open views and hedgerows, coastal landscapes, and incredible history in town and country. No-one knows those paths better than Falkirk’s rangers, Lesley Sweeney and Fiona Wishart, so here they are sharing a few of their favourites to get you out and about.
1. A gorge walk along the River Avon is the perfect way to get away from it all. The path is rough so has a natural feel and the route follows the river and passes through Muiravonside Country Park, so you can get lunch or coffee.
2. Walks don't get more atmospheric than the historic trek from Larbert to Torwood, taking in a 2000-year-old broch, 500-year-old castle and a strange, blue pool. Once the main road to Stirling, it is lined with ancient trees.
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3. Amazing walks along Bo'ness foreshore include Kinneil House to Blackness Castle, with amazing views and historical sites. Part of the John Muir Way, the route has good paths. In summer there are stunning wildflower meadows.
4. Skinflats' circular 3.6 mile walk is a favourite, particularly in autumn when the hedgerows are bursting with life. Beautiful, open fields lead to the foreshore and one of the rarest habitats in the UK.
5. For a stroll with children, it's hard to beat beautiful Callendar Woods, with a network of very accessible paths leading from Callendar Park. It's also an ideal spot for a picnic, sheltered by some of the park's amazing trees.
6. Another ideal place to take younger children is Westquarter Glen. It's an easy walk and very accessible, with great wildlife to be spotted right on the town's doorstep. Picture by Benjamin Hugh.
7. Falkirk Wheel to Rough Castle leads to the best preserved fort on the Antonine Wall and a glimpse of the area's Roman past. This leads on to the canal at Bonnybridge - proof connectivity is one of Falkirk's great strengths.
8. At 3k, the Falkirk Tunnel circular isn't a long walk but it takes you through the longest canal tunnel in Scotland, 630m long and 3.6m high. It can be slippery and a torch is handy but it's great fun.
9. Following the Dorrator Loop, you can walk for 8 miles without leaving a green space - quite a feat for a walk almost in the centre of Falkirk. It leads to the Helix and returns via brand new paths at the cemetery in Camelon.
10. On the west side of Falkirk, the rangers recommend starting at Dales Wood, taking you above Denny, following proper country roads and quiet paths on a brisk, uphill trek that's rewarded by great views.
11. Carron Glen begins at Gala Park in Dunipace and heads up the glen, following the Carron to Fankerton. A steep gorge walk, with waterfalls and pools, full of wildflowers in spring. It's also a brilliant place to see bluebells.
12. While there are plenty of countryside walks, don't neglect the trails round the area's towns. Falkirk Town Heritage Trail provides a history book in stone as it offers a guide to more than 30 historical sites in the town.
13. The Airth Circular route offers amazing history and beauty, taking you past sites including the Dunmore Pineapple and Elphinstone Tower. You can also find spectacular giant trees and sweeping views of the River Forth.