The iconic, 120-year-old swing bridge at Bowling Harbour in West Dunbartonshire has been lovingly restored as part of the latest stage of a £3.2 million transformation of the area – and could pave the way for a new linear park inspired by New York City’s Highline at the western gateway to the Forth & Clyde Canal.
The plan has reached another major milestone with the granting of planning consent. The project will see the development of Bowling’s historic viaduct – transforming the former railway line into a fully accessible linear park and pathway forming a direct link between the Forth & Clyde Canal towpath and the National Cycle Network route towards Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.
Helena Huws, Design and Development Manager at Scottish Canals, said: “We’re delighted that our plans to create a new linear park over Bowling Harbour’s iconic bridge have received planning consent. Working with our partners and the local community, we’ve spent the last few years breathing new life into the area with the ambition of developing a fantastic tourism and leisure destination fitting of the western gateway to the Forth & Clyde Canal. This is an important step forward for our plans for the area and we are looking forward to bringing them to fruition.”
Bowling Harbour’s viaduct swing bridge was constructed in 1896 to carry the Caledonian and Dunbartonshire Railway over the Forth & Clyde Canal. After the railway was abandoned in 1960, the bridge fell into disrepair. Thanks to funding support from Sustrans and Historic Environment Scotland, Scottish Canals has undertaken vital repairs to the structure’s badly corroded metalwork and repainted the entire span.
The project, together with the recent refurbishment of the bridge’s railway arches into commercial units, has ensured the structure will continue to play an important role in the area for years to come. The transformational work at Bowling Harbour, undertaken in partnership with the local community, has brought new businesses, activity, vibrancy and economic benefits to the canal and celebrated Bowling’s important role in Scotland’s industrial past.