Falkirk Greenspace Initiative

about the project

project summary

The Falkirk Greenspace Initiative envisaged the creation of a continuous, well-wooded parkland or green space encircling Falkirk: Where new amenity woodland would link existing and proposed recreational spaces, public parks and gardens, the corridors of the River Carron and the two canals, nature reserves, the Green Belt, former policy woodland and designated countryside around the urban area; and in which recreation, leisure, heritage facilities and new development would be focused. A key feature would be the establishment of a circular off-road route around and through the parkland ring.

The Initiative was both innovative and visionary for its time and became the expression of the Central Scotland Forest in the Falkirk Council area.

The aims / objectives of the Falkirk Greenspace Initiative set out  in 1993 were to:

  • reinforce visual separation between communities;
  • link existing open spaces with present and potential recreation facilities to enhance both recreational and tourism opportunities in the area;
  • provide a high quality landscape structure for selective future development;
  • provide attractive corridors to facilitate movement by foot and cycle between communities and urban centres;
  • provide opportunities for the conservation and enjoyment of the natural environment;
  • enhance the perceived image of the area and promote inward investment;
  • provide an attractive setting for future tourism and recreational developments; and
  • provide a geographical framework for landscape and environmental enhancement.

The Falkirk Greenspace Initiative has been delivered over a 20 years timescale. This period of time and professional commitment has been required to register the maturing benefits of transformational landscape change. Over time the mosaic of woodlands and path networks has achieved a coherent setting for the delivery of major recreational, tourism and heritage projects. 

The process and action taken has involved setting the strategic planning policy context and landscape framework for the successful delivery of large scale component projects as well as a wide range of local community based projects. 

history/background/project status

The Falkirk Greenspace Initiative began in 1993 through a partnership at that time of Falkirk District Council, Central Scotland Woodlands Countryside Trust, Central Regional Council and Forth Valley Enterprise. It was developed in response to the need to transform the image and environment of the area in the interests of local quality of life and increased attractiveness to inward investment. The innovative nature of the Initiative immediately caught the imagination of the partner agencies and quickly became enshrined in successive Development Plans both as a strategic concept and as a set of detailed proposals. It was recognised that the Initiative would require long term strategic commitment to ensure success and through the following 20 years the emergent partners of Falkirk Council and Central Scotland Forest Trust have continued to implement the vision through close working, community involvement and intensive resource commitment. The success of the project can now be measured in terms of its transformational impact on the local environment and the resource it has created for recreational, natural heritage and business developments. 

project outcomes

Over time the maturing impact of the landscape projects has engendered increasing community and political support and attracted recreational project investment from Council services, local landowners and other agencies. 

The result achieved was a transformational change in the image, landscape quality and recreational potential of the area. This included the planting of over 1.3 m. trees to create accessible community woodlands, enhance transport corridors, restore derelict sites, regenerate aging plantations, diversify farms, enhance habitats and provide a landscape framework for new business and recreational interests.

The partnership Initiative developed major associated projects such the Falkirk Helix, the Falkirk Urban Woodland WIAT Initiative, the South Falkirk Environmental Justice Project, the Bespoke Project and has worked with wider partnerships to enhance the setting and improve access to the Falkirk Wheel and the Antonine Wall Word Heritage Site.

Two Local Nature Reserves have been designated within the Initiative area significantly assisted by partnership inputs. In total over 260km. of paths have been created or upgraded and working with local communities has been a strong feature of Initiative project work. Capacity building has benefited significantly and local management groups are ongoing in the Local Nature Reserves and in several of the community woodland and nature park project sites.

The Initiative has provided the strategic planning policy context and evolving landscape framework for the development of successful external funding bids for significant component projects. It has also enabled the development of a series of integrated habitat networks and provided local recreational opportunities for a wide range of user groups and abilities as well as adding significantly to the tourism draw of the local area.

contact details

Contact Person: Alan Rodger

project details

project location

Area Covered: Falkirk wide

local authority area(s)

  • Falkirk

project types

  • Landscape Enhancement (Primary)
  • Access
  • Biodiversity
  • Community Ownership/ mngt
  • Consultation & Engagement
  • Multi-functional
  • Regeneration
  • Strategy

site types

  • Not site specific (Primary)
  • Amenity greenspace
  • Commercial & business
  • Derelict/Brownfield
  • Green corridors & green networks
  • Linear greenspaces
  • Natural/Semi-natural greenspace
  • Other community greenspace
  • Other functional greenspace
  • Public Parks and Gardens
  • Residential greenspaces
  • Water & blue space
  • Woodland