The Kelpies and Helix Park is in Falkirk in Scotland and covers three hundred and fifty hectares, linking sixteen local communities. Visitors to the Eco park will enjoy the large park’s many trails and outdoor activities. The idea for the Helix was born in 2003 out of the desire to construct an Eco park, through the Falkirk Greenscape Initiative. Building the park transformed the three hundred and fifty hectares of land between Grangemouth and Falkirk.
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The park connects sixteen communities via its extensive pathway network.
Big Lottery started the Living Landmarks fund in 2005 during the summer. The fund was started to help improve the local environment of communities in the area. The first bid for the Helix was sent in early in 2006. Big Lottery approved the Helix project for a development grant. The grant would be used to get a Stage Two submission prepared. Once the Stage Two petition was turned it, the Helix was granted the twenty-five million euro maximum in November of 2007.
The Phase One Technical Design and Business plan were finalized between 2008 and 2009. The construction on the park started with the Helix South grid of pathways in April of 2011. This section was opened in June of the same year with more than six hundred residents attended the opening. The construction for the four main Helix Zones continued to change the landscape of the locality and created much talk among the local inhabitants.
Helix Day commemorated the Helix Park opening on September 14th, 2013. Almost twenty thousand people attended came to the event which featured community art projects and famous artists. The Helix continues to be busy with dog walkers, runners, cyclists, skaters and Nordic walkers.
Things to Do
The Helix Park boasts a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy.
Walking and Running- The parks path network offers a scenic backdrop for runs and walks, connecting sixteen different communities through twenty-six kilometers of paths. Visitors will find new routes to explore every time they visit the park.
· Walk with a Group- The park offers several group walks that begin at Falkirk Stadium.
· Nordic Walking- This is a complete body exercise which is appropriate for all fitness levels and ages. The poles used help the walker to walk faster and the body to work harder. Special training is required before visitors can participate.
· Running- The wide, flat paths make the park great for runners.
Cycling- Riding a bicycle through the five hundred kilometers of cycling pathways provides a wonderful way to explore local landmarks. The Falkirk Cycle Club offers bikes for rent to explore the park. Visitors can rent traditional bikes, specialist accessible bikes, and electric bikes.
· HArTT Cycle Route- Helix Around Town Tour is a circular cycle course that covers sixteen miles and begins by Falkirk Stadium, then links the Falkirk Wheel, Callendar Park, and Helix. The route offers woodland, glen, and community scenery.
Water Activities- The park offers instructor-led water sports, activities and programs.
· Pedalos- Pedaloes cost five euros per boat and hold up to four people and can be taken out on the Lagoon.
· Splash Play- The splash play area is an extension of the Adventure Zone offering water fun for children of all ages.
Adventure Zone- The Adventure Zone is a huge playground built of wood for children two and up.
The Kelpies- The Kelpies is a large outdoor sculpture display of horses created by Andy Scotts that have been sculpted to reflect the heavy horse of economy and industry. They are sculped pulling ploughs, wagons, coal ships and barges. Visitors can experience the Kelpies through a thirty-minute walking tour. This includes a trip through the inside of the display for visitors to explore a Kelpie from the inside and see the engineering and design. The visitor center contains an exhibition area where visitors can learn about the history of the Falkirk area and its link to the Kelpies. This exhibition includes interactive activities for kids such as Lego building and coloring.
The Helix Park offers educational field trip for students to explore the Kelpies and their history, myth, and the horse that inspired the sculptures. Students get to examine the inside of the sculptures as well.
The Helix Park Visitor Center Café provides an awesome view of the Kelpies. It serves a variety of cool drinks, hot food, and homemade sweet treats. Everything is made fresh with local ingredients by the chefs.
The Plaza Café overlooks the Lagoon and has both indoor and outdoor spaces for visitors.
The Gift Shop is in the Helix Visitor Center. It offers a variety of souvenir and mementos including limited edition works of art and seasonal merchandise.
Visitor Centre, The Helix, Falkirk FK2 7ZT, Phone:+44-0-13-24-59-06-00