FALKIRK has been named the best neighbourhood for walking in Britain following a public vote.

It beat nine other contenders across England, Scotland and Wales to win, taking 20% of the votes cast.

The town, renowned for the Helix Park with its giant horse sculptures the Kelpies and the Falkirk Wheel, has 383 miles (617km) of well-maintained and signposted paths. Wraight Shepherd, chairman of Stirling, Falkirk and District Ramblers, nominated Falkirk for the award.

He said: “We are really proud that Falkirk has won the Britain’s Best Walking Neighbourhood Award.

“It’s a testament to the commitment of the council working together with local communities that Falkirk has been transformed in recent years into a place that is enjoyable and easy to walk around, building a real culture of walking.”

The Ramblers’ Best Walking Neighbourhood Award, now in its second year, celebrates the best of everyday walking, neighbourhoods where local authorities and community groups have improved local streets and routes for walking and with good access to green space.

More than 12,000 people voted for the award, with Brockley in London taking second place and Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire coming third. Elgin made it on to the shortlist.

Dennis Canavan, former Falkirk West MSP and vice-president of Ramblers Scotland, said: “What we’ve achieved here through improving the path network has brought more people to the area and encourages local people to get out and enjoy what’s around them. It connects communities, with people walking to school and to work.”