Work on the £320,000 project which has been developed by British
Waterways Scotland and The Waterways Trust Scotland with main
funding contribution from Avondale Environmental through the
Landfill Communities Fund and additional support from The Veolia
Environmental Trust, will start in October. It is anticipated that
the official opening will take place in April 2011.
The 30 metre long mini canal, which will be situated adjacent to
the basin at The Falkirk Wheel, will take a playful and educational
look at how communities around the world source and move water.
Pertinently, this focus on educating the young about the
importance and potential of water comes at a time when Scotland is
leading the world in water renewables and new experts will be
increasingly in demand to sustain this momentum over coming
Linking into the Curriculum for Excellence, the new mini canal
will be evocative of the Union and Forth & Clyde Canals and
include a micro version of The Falkirk Wheel which links the two
canals which, together, extend from east to west coasts, Edinburgh
As well as the mini Falkirk Wheel, an Archimedes Screw will
demonstrate the principles of hydraulics, fluid statics or
water movement and displacement which were discovered by the third
century Greek physicist, mathematician, engineer and inventor.
Visitors will be able to launch a boat on the mini Falkirk
Wheel, which, by using water displacement, only requires the
electricity equivalent to heat eight kettles to make the half
rotation necessary to transfer boats from one canal to another.
With glass fronted canal locks, the new mini waterway will show
visitors how mechanical pumps and valves work in moving water
around and show how Newton's Laws of Motion applies.
The new hands on equipment will also include a pedal bike which
sucks up water for irrigation. This was designed by mechanical
engineering students at the University of Strathclyde as part of a
project to create water collection technology to aid communities in
An outdoor classroom space will sit adjacent to the mini canal.
This natural learning area will complement the network of pathways
which extend around The Falkirk Wheel and up to the Antonine Wall,
which itself is part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World
The new mini canal and outdoor classroom was designed by Mike
Hyatt Landscape Architects.
Karen Moore, Development Director Scotland of The
Waterways Trust Scotland, says:
"The new mini canal will give children and adults alike a really
vibrant, hands on connection with The Falkirk Wheel and the
Scottish canals. Children will be able to roll their sleeves up,
launch a boat and have some fun whilst getting a solid scientific
understanding of how we move water. We also plan, if funding
allows, to include a sand area where children can then go on to dig
and create their own canal or water channel.
"As well as introducing children to the science behind water
movement, the new mini canal will give western children an insight
into water collection in third world countries. There, children
tend to be the main water gatherers and water is a scarce and
highly valued resource. The mini canal, we hope, will show children
here that, for many, getting vital water every day is not as easy
as turning on a tap."
Alasdair Smart, Manager at The Falkirk Wheel,
"The new mini canal will be a tremendous complement to our
educational offer as well as extend and enhance the visitor
experience for the half a million visitors we welcome to The
Falkirk Wheel each year.
"The educational aspect is of particular importance to us. In
February this year, we launched our new educational toolkit for
Primary 3 -7 schoolchildren and the Mini Canal and Outdoor
Classroom will further cement our commitment to making The Falkirk
Wheel a great asset for teachers and schoolchildren across the
central belt. The three elements together will create a well
rounded indoor/outdoor educational experience which will deliver a
fun day out, fire the imagination and give an interesting and hands
on introduction to the science behind water movement on the
Scottish canals and at The Falkirk Wheel."
This August, The Falkirk Wheel saw a record number of visitors
registered in a single month since the internationally renowned
attraction opened in 2002.
Some two million people visit the Scottish canals annually,
making a total of 24.4 million trips.
During 2009, visitors to the Union Canal, which terminates at
The Falkirk Wheel, almost hit the million mark.
Issued by Joanna Harrison, Communications Manager,
British Waterways Scotland
Telephone: 0141 354 7567 / Mobile: 07824 499180
Notes to Editors:
The Veolia Environmental Trust
The Veolia Environmental Trust has been supporting community and
environmental projects for over 12 years. Under the Landfill
Communities Fund, landfill site operators can donate a percentage,
currently 5.5% of their landfill tax payment to these
Since the Trust was established in 1997, Veolia Environmental
Services (UK) plc has supported it by contributions of £42 million
to 1080 projects.
The Trust has helped fund a diverse range of projects, including
the repair of woodland footpaths, the renovation of community
halls and the installation of playgrounds and play areas.
For more information, or to find out how to apply for funding,
visit the Trust's website www.veoliatrust.org