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Falkirk, Union Canal

Canal (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Falkirk, Union Canal

Classification Canal (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Edinburgh And Glasgow Union Canal

Canmore ID 95381

Site Number NS87NE 31

NGR NS 8841 7834

NGR Description NS 8683 7999 to NS 8999 7810

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Falkirk
  • Parish Falkirk
  • Former Region Central
  • Former District Falkirk
  • Former County Stirlingshire

Archaeology Notes

NS87NE 31.00 8683 7999 to 8999 7810

NS87NE 31.01 NS 88245 78740 (NS 88141 78983 to NS 88390 78400) Tunnel (Falkirk Canal Tunnel)

NS87NE 31.02 NS 87773 79235 Bridge No.62 (Bantaskine Bridge)

NS87NE 31.03 NS 8946 7815 Bridge

NS87NE 31.04 NS 8871 7812 Road bridge

NS87NE 31.05 NS 85257 79848 to NS 85264 79684 Roughcastle Tunnel (New Falkirk Tunnel)

NS87NE 31.06 NS 85276 79252 Roughcastle Basin

NS87NE 31.07 NS 85364 79607 Roughcastle Locks

For Falkirk Wheel (canal lift at NS 85241 80134), see NS88SE 198.

The W terminal of the Union Canal consisted of a basin (Port Downie, centred NS 8693 7995) which opened into the Forth and Clyde Canal just W of Lock 16 (see NS88SE 112). From this terminal basin, now filled-in, a now demolshed series of eleven locks rose 100ft in just over half a mile. The former course taken by the series of locks can still be traced on the ground, curving up the hillside under the railway viaduct (NS87NE 32) and ending at the remains of a gate where the topmost lock joined the Canal proper. The locks are shown on earlier editions of the OS maps, e.g. the 2nd edition of the OS 6-inch maps (Stirlingshire, 1899), sheets xxx NW and NE, which show further that they were provided with side-ponds.

Though the main canal was completed in 1822, in 1823 it was extended westwards from the top of the locks (NS 8698 7934) for 570 yds (to NS 8647 7943) to Port Maxwell, so as to reduce the minimum walking distance between the summit-level and Port Downie. The W end is closed by a masonry embankment. The westernmost section of the work runs along a N-facing slope, and in consequence has had to be excavated along the contour and embanked on its N side. The tow-path tops the embankment. About a mile E of the locks, however, the Canal is confronted by a ridge which links up with the high ground overlooking Callendar Park, and it passes under this obstacle by a tunnel (NS87NE 31.01) its course being deflected sout-eastwards so that the tunnel debouches into a convenient natrual feature, the valley of the Glen Burn. Deep cuttings lead the Canal into and out of the tunnel.

The valley of the Glen Burn runs eastwards, and has been ingeniously adapted to carry the canal on its way by the displacement of the burn itself into an artificial channel. This is led along the S side of the glen, and at a distance of 700yds from the tunnel is carried below the Canal by a large masonry conduit to follow its natural course, which here turns away from the Canal north-eastwards. The Canal, meanwhile, continues in an easterly direction, either terraced on the hillside as before or passing transverse features by means of cuttings. None of these cuttings is deep, as the terrain is comparatively even; their sides are revtted with stonework, either squared or rough, and generally dry-built. The large bay by the tow-path, and the roughly paved pathway leading down to it, that can be seen just E of the highway bridge at Glen Village (NS87NE 35) were provided to facilitate the changing of the horses that belonged to the local colliery.

(The Canal continues as NS97NW 61.00 and see LIN 18 for the general record for dates and details of canal's construction.)

RCAHMS 1963, visited 1954; J Lindsay 1968.

(Scheduling number 8952). The length of the [Edinburgh and Glasgow] Union Canal between the River Avon and Greenbank [NS 8648 7943 to NS 9680 7577] has been accorded statutory protection by scheduling. The 12km long stretch comprises that portion of the canal within the former boundary of Stirlingshire.

[Extends onto NS97NW 61.00 and NS97NE 62.00].

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 15 December 2003.

NS 869 793 A watching brief was undertaken in November 2004 during works in advance of a new telecom installation S of the Falkirk to Edinburgh railway line and N of a complex of former canal locks and basins. The latter comprised the link between the Union and Forth and Clyde canals, and a study of historical maps suggested the proposed site lay close by. The works lay within the Guardianship area of the Union Canal. The proposed landscaping work was limited to removal of topsoil and grading to provide a level platform for a cabin and mast. The site revealed nothing of the canal's associated works, as it was too shallow to expose the already truncated and infilled features N of the stone locks and

canal sides.

Archive to be deposited in NMRS.

Sponsor: New Edge Telecommunications.

G Ewart 2005


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