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The Falkirk area is officially the best place for a walk in the UK after it picked up a national award for the ‘best walking neighbourhood’ at a prestigious ceremony held in the Houses of Parliament.

A public vote organised by charity Ramblers saw the work of Falkirk Council and its partners in helping to develop and maintain its path network stretching 383 miles locally rewarded with the country’s top accolade for walking.

The award had nine other locations across the UK shortlisted but a public competition saw Falkirk scoop 20% of all votes cast making it the winning area.

Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, Leader of Falkirk Council said: “This is a fabulous award for the Falkirk area and being voted Britain’s best walking neighbourhood is an amazing achievement. We have some great areas to explore locally and with nearly 400 miles of paths on our doorstep, visitors and residents are not short of some great locations to enjoy. We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to vote for Falkirk and made us number one in the UK.”

Vanessa Griffiths, chief executive of the Ramblers, said: “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.”

The Falkirk area has significant links to a number of CSGNT’s access, recreation and green active travel projects. This includes the long distance walking and cycling route, the John Muir Way. It is host to 37km of the John Muir Way – an impressive 17% of the coast-to-coast route – weaving its way through the area’s natural, cultural and industrial heritage. This provides a variety of experiences for walkers and cyclists, including canal towpaths, leafy woodlands and a fine coastal stretch of all-abilities path.

Elaine Macintosh, John Muir Way Development Officer at CSGNT added: “The John Muir Way links an array of visitor attractions through Falkirk which include Rough Castle Roman Fort, the Falkirk Wheel, Forth & Clyde and Union Canals, Callendar Park and House, Muiravonside Country Park, Kinneil House and Estate, Bo’ness foreshore and Blackness Castle.

“It is also contributing to habitat creation through Buglife’s John Muir Pollinator Way project, with planting taking place alongside several sections of the path in Falkirk.”

You can find out more about walking neighbourhoods on the Ramblers website. You can also download some great local walking guides on the council’s website.