Falkirk named Britain’s best walking neighbourhood
Falkirk has been named the best neighbourhood for walking in Britain following a public vote.
It beat nine other contenders across England, Scotland and Wales to win, taking 20% of the votes cast.
The town, renowned for the Helix Park with its giant horse sculptures the Kelpies, has 383 miles (617km) of well-maintained and signposted paths.
Wraight Shepherd, chairman of Stirling, Falkirk & District Ramblers, nominated Falkirk for the award.
He said: “We are really proud that Falkirk has won the Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood Award.
“It’s a testament to the commitment of the council working together with local communities that Falkirk has been transformed in recent years into a place that is enjoyable and easy to walk around, building a real culture of walking.”
The Ramblers’ Best Walking Neighbourhood Award, now in its second year, celebrates the best of everyday walking, neighbourhoods where local authorities and community groups have improved local streets and routes for walking and with good access to green space.
More than 12,000 people voted for the award, with the Brockley in south-east London taking second place and Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire coming third.
The other towns shortlisted were Elgin in Scotland, Aberystwyth in Wales, Chorlton and Whalley Range in Greater Manchester, Bow and Three Mills in London, The Deepings in Lincolnshire, Cambridge city centre and Brighton city centre.
Vanessa Griffiths, chief executive of the Ramblers, said: “Congratulations to Falkirk, a very worthy winner of the Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood Award.
“Our vision is of a country truly designed for walking, where everyone is encouraged to walk whenever they set out on a journey, whether they are popping to the shops or going to work. Falkirk is a fantastic example of how this can be achieved.
“Walkable neighbourhoods bring not only the physical and mental health benefits of walking and being able to access green space; places where people walk regularly also have more connected communities.
“Making it easy to choose walking over driving helps to reduce congestion and improve air quality too, bringing us one step closer to our zero emissions target.”
Dennis Canavan, former Falkirk West MSP and vice president of Ramblers Scotland, said: “Falkirk is an excellent place for walking. What we’ve achieved here through improving the path network has brought more people to the area and encourages local people to get out and enjoy what’s around them.
“It connects communities, with people walking to school and to work. The local community has gone out of its way to encourage walking and to make local, neighbourhood walking more accessible.”