The new Mini Canal and Water Play Area at The Falkirk Wheel
takes a playful and educational look at how communities around the
world source and move water.
The 30 metre long mini canal, which sits opposite the 35 metre
high Falkirk Wheel, is representative of the Union and Forth &
Clyde canals which connect at the world's only fully rotating
With a range of hands-on, push and pull buttons and winders,
visitors can launch a mini boat, open glass fronted canal locks,
move water uphill with an 'Archimedes Screw' and much more. There's
even a miniature Falkirk Wheel to navigate.
The new attraction also includes an outdoor classroom space.
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 £370,000 project was 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 and
Falkirk Environment Trust (also through the Landfill Communities
Fund) and Central Scotland Forest Trust.
Falkirk Provost, Pat Reid, says:
"It is wonderful to stand here today and launch the new Mini
Canal and Water Play Area which together enhance The Falkirk
Wheel's credentials as a tourist attraction. The new amenity will
also help ensure that Falkirk is an increasingly attractive tourist
destination for the whole family."
Alasdair Smart, Manager, The Falkirk Wheel,
"We recently welcomed our four millionth visitor to The Falkirk
Wheel and new amenities and activities such as the Mini Canal and
Water Play Area will ensure that we remain one of Scotland's
leading visitor attractions and somewhere people can always find
something new and interesting to do year round.
"Altogether, the Mini Canal, Water Play Area and Outdoor
Classroom will be a great 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.
"I am grateful to Provost Pat Reid and 'Nina' for coming along
today and my special thanks also go to Wellside Kindergarten and
Happy Feet Nursery who, I am sure, have enjoyed their official
Karen Moore, Development Director Scotland, The
Waterways Trust, adds:
"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.
"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."
The Mini Canal, Water Play Area and Outdoor Classroom will be
included in the Curriculum for Excellence linked educational
toolkit for Primary 3 -7 schoolchildren and help make The Falkirk
Wheel a great asset for teachers and schoolchildren across the
John Holt, Chairman of Avondale Holdings Ltd,
"Avondale Holdings has been delighted to assist with the
development of the Mini Canal project at The Falkirk Wheel.
The Falkirk Wheel has been a major success and its extension into
the field of childrens' education is to be applauded. We hope
children from communities near and afar enjoy the new water play
The Executive Director of The Veolia Environmental
Trust, Margaret Cobbold, adds:
"The Trust works to fund community and environmental projects
across the UK. This great new play area combines fun with learning
and we were pleased to be able to support it."
The new Mini Canal, Water Play Area and Outdoor Classroom were
designed by Mike Hyatt Landscape Architects.
A pedal bike within the attraction was designed by mechanical
engineering students at the University of Strathclyde.
Construction of the attraction was carried out by Land
Elements of the Mini Canal
- As well as the mini Falkirk Wheel, an Archimedes Screw
demonstrates the principles of hydraulics, fluid statics
or water movement and displacement which were discovered by the
third century Greek physicist, mathematician, engineer and
- Visitors can also 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 shows
visitors how mechanical pumps and valves work in moving water
around and how Newton's Law of Gravity applies.
- The new hands-on equipment also includes 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 for Malawi.
Issued by Joanna Harrison, British Waterways Scotland,
Mobile: 07824 499180
Notes to Editors:
British Waterways Scotland
- British Waterways Scotland (BWS) is responsible for managing
the five Scottish canals: the Forth & Clyde, Union, Caledonian,
Crinan and Monkland. Together, they extend over 137 miles and
through a microcosm of the Scottish landscape, from the scenic
splendor of the Great Glen in the Highlands and Mid Argyll to the
conurbations of Glasgow and Edinburgh and the countryside of the
- BWS also manages The Falkirk Wheel, the world's only rotating
boatlift, which was created as part of the £83.5m Millennium Link
Project, which reopened the lowland canals and made navigation
between East and West coasts, Edinburgh and Glasgow, possible again
for the first time in some thirty years.
- Today, the Scottish canals are dynamic public assets. Through a
mix of boating, placemaking, tourism, biodiversity, heritage,
education and support for active living, the two hundred year old
canals contribute economically, socially and environmentally to
waterside communities across Scotland and support economic growth
for the country as a whole.
- For further information, visit www.scottishcanals.co.uk
The Waterways Trust Scotland
- The Waterways Trust Scotland is part of The Waterways Trust, a
national charity. Since 1999 we have worked with our partners
to enrich people's lives through waterways. Our vision is to
see the UK waterway network supported, valued and enjoyed by
everyone. We identify need, build partnerships, raise funds
and deliver projects focused on delivering benefits for people in
five core areas: environment & heritage, improved health,
stronger communities, improved learning and regeneration.
- For further information, visit www.thewaterwaystrust.org.uk
Avondale Environmental Ltd
- EB Scotland Ltd t/a Score Environment is a distributive
environmental body which awards Landfill Communities Fund grants
from contributions made by Avondale Environmental Ltd for the
improvement of communities close to landfill sites.
- To date over £4M has been awarded to 62 projects in the Falkirk
Council Area and over £23M to over 500 projects throughout
- For more information, or to find out how to apply for funding,
visit the Score Environment website http://www.score-environment.co.uk/
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
- For more information, or to find out how to apply for funding,
visit the Trust's website www.veoliatrust.org