Plans for official walking trail to celebrate William Wallace

Plans are being drawn up to create an official trail to celebrate Sir William Wallace in Falkirk.

The Wallace Monument near Stirling.
The Wallace Monument near Stirling.

The route would provide information at sites in and around the town that are associated with the medieval freedom fighter.

The scheme aims to increase awareness of Wallace's close links to Falkirk and draw tourists to the area.

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Funding for the project is being raised by historical group The Society of John de Graeme, which honours Wallace's great friend and ally, who died fighting alongside Wallace at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298.

De Graeme, who gave his name to locations around Falkirk, is said to have been carried from the battlefield by Wallace to his resting place in Falkirk Kirkyard, where people can still visit his tomb.

The trail would include sites connected to Wallace's defeat to King Edward I in 1298 and numerous other places associated with Wallace and his family, such as Victoria Park, Callendar Park and The Falkirk Trinity Church as well as in Torwood, Airth, Dunipace, Wallacestone and Grangemouth.

David Reid, convener of the Society of John De Graeme, said that Wallace's links to Falkirk had been largely forgotten while nearby Stirling – home to the National Wallace Monument – draws tourists from around the world.

He said: “Falkirk played a big part in Wallace's story, but there is very little to tell people about this connection – we should be shouting it from the rooftops.

“Everyone has heard of Wallace, but very few people know about his mother, his education or how he came to be the man who led the Scots into battle. Much of this is linked to the Falkirk area and we feel it's about time we told that story.

“How many people know that near Victoria Park, Sir John De Graeme, Wallace's second in command and loyal knight, fell in the Battle of Falkirk in 1298? Or that you can see his tomb at the Faw Kirk Trinity Church?”

He added: “Another little known gem is that Grangemouth is said to be the birthplace of Wallace's mother. Until now, there has been nothing in most of these places to tell their stories, but Scots and tourists alike would be fascinated.”

The trail would complement the recent restoration of a fountain dedicated to De Graeme in Victoria Park, where a giant mural is set to form part of a tribute to those who fell in the Battle of Falkirk, fought less than a year after Wallace's famous victory over the English at Stirling Bridge.

Hearing of Wallace's victory in Stirling, King Edward I assembled a massive army said to have numbered more than 20,000 men and destroyed the Scots ranks with arrows from their longbows.

De Graeme is said to have been killed by an enemy who struck from behind through a gap in his armour.

Others who died included clan leader MacDuff of Fife, who commanded part ofthe army, and Sir JohnStewart and the 'Men of Bute', 600 archers who came from Bute and fought under Stewart's command but were wiped out.

Wallace was captured and executed in London in 1305.