The Falkirk Wheel is the most spectacular work of engineering so far constructed during the restoration of the inland waterways network in Britain which began in the 1960s. It connects two canals built in the Central Lowlands of Scotland during the Industrial Revolution period, the 56 km Forth & Clyde canal built between 1768 and 1790 that linked the River Clyde at Bowling, 4 km south-east of Dumbarton, with the Firth of Forth near Grangemouth, and the Union Canal, constructed in 1818-22, that from a junction at Falkirk linked it with Edinburgh.
Both canals had fallen into disuse in the 1930s and the Forth & Clyde was formally abandoned in 1963, but they were subsequently restored for recreational purposes, and the innovative Falkirk Wheel linking the two was a Millennium project, funded by the National Lottery, and was opened in 2002. The structure is located near the village of Tamfourhill, 3 km east of the town of Tamfourhill.
The 35 m diameter wheel raises and lowers boats 24 m between the two canals in two caissons, replacing a flight of 11 locks on the old canal. The Lift was planned as a major tourist attraction, and there is a visitor centre, including interpretative displays on canals in Scotland and on the nearby Antonine Wall, a shop and a cafe. It also serves as a starting point for boat trips.