Falkirk is the UK’s best neighbourhood for walking

Helen Coffey

It’s official: Falkirk is the UK’s best neighbourhood for walking.

The Scottish town was crowned Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood 2019 by the Ramblers, a charity which promotes walking and protects the rights of walkers throughout the country.

Falkirk beat nine other contenders across England, Scotland and Wales to be named the top walker-friendly urban neighbourhood, with 20 per cent of the vote.

The Ramblers received more than 80 public nominations for the award, with the list whittled down to 10 finalists by a panel of expert judges.

The winner was then decided by a public vote of more than 12,000 respondents.

Falkirk clearly impressed, thanks to Helix Park, adorned by magnificent horse sculptures, and its 383 miles (617km) of well-maintained and signposted paths.

It also offers easy access to green space – a planning standard introduced by the council means that every house should be within 400m of an open space – and the local authority has also widened pavements and created more off-road paths.

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.”