09 Sep 2021

(Updated 30 Sep 2021)

In early 2021, the Green Action Trust secured funding from Scotland Loves Local to commission art organisation WAVEparticle to consult with the community in Helensburgh in developing a brief for a new/enhanced artwork to mark the start/end of the John Muir Way. A series of online consultation workshops took place in April and May 2021.

hburgh start

Plans to relocate the existing John Muir Way ‘footprints’ artwork, as part of the Helensburgh Waterfront Development project, had been developed in response to feedback from visitors that the current route terminus was difficult to find. The opportunity to relocate the terminus and existing artwork, to become the centrepiece of the new civic space being created at the corner of Sinclair Street and West Clyde Street, was welcomed by the Green Action Trust to provide greater visibility and profile for the route within the town.

The John Muir Way Artwork Study set out to explore how the existing artwork, once relocated, could be enhanced to offer even greater visibility and relevance. The cost for relocating the existing artwork (but not enhancing) is included in the Waterfront Development project.

The final report documents the process followed, ideas captured, alternative locations explored and recommendations.

The report can be downloaded here: Helensburgh Artwork Study Report (16MB)

For further background, the launch flyer for the study consultation can be downloaded here.

Feedback on the study report was captured in a short online survey which ran from 17th to 26th September. The short window reflected the potential to apply to Scotland Loves Local for design stage funding (application deadline 1st October).

Feedback and conclusions

16 responses were received, presenting a range of views on the two location options and on the creative ideas in the report.

Comments were made both for and against relocating the John Muir Way start/end point roundel to the new civic space being created at the corner of Sinclair Street and West Clyde Street, and on enhancing this with additional artwork at a range of scales. Comments were also made for and against remaining at the current location on the grassy esplanade. On balance, there was no clear consensus to support relocating the John Muir Way terminus to the new civic space.

For the time being therefore, the John Muir Way will remain in its current location. No additional artwork will be added here due to the risk/limitations presented by the underlying attenuation tanks. The clearest consensus was in suggestions that the end of the pier would be the optimal location for the John Muir Way, if this were to be restored at some point in the future.

The artwork study captured a rich bank of ideas which we hope will be of use in the town and for the John Muir Way if a new location opportunity arises. The report will be handed over jointly to Argyll & Bute Council and Helensburgh Community Council to draw on as appropriate.

A big thank you

We'd like to thank everyone who contributed their time, ideas and energy to the artwork study. Thanks go to Argyll & Bute Council’s Helensburgh Waterfront Development project team for their extensive support, to Helensburgh Community Council for hosting the opening and closing sessions and to WAVEparticle for leading the study.


For further information, please contact elaine.macintosh@greenactiontrust.org

The John Muir Way Artwork Study was funded by the Scottish Government Scotland Loves Local Fund administered by Scotland’s Towns Partnership. It was delivered by WAVEparticle, on behalf the Green Action Trust, the charity that manages the John Muir Way, and was supported by Argyll & Bute Council and Hirst Landscape Architects.

hburg artwork logos