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Clackmannanshire Council Online

A wealth of history on guided walks

Published on:


May 2009

Two free, guided walks will be held next month around two of the county's most notable attractions.

The walks are at Alva Glen and through the town of Alva and in particular its historic kirkyard. Both walks will be led by local experts.

The walks are on Friday 5th June and are part of an event taking place at Alva Parklands celebrating the county's beautiful environment and impressive heritage.

The event is a chance to find our more about the Ochils Landscape Partnership (OLP) and the two walks highlights areas covered by this project. The Alva Glen walk will highlight the work done by the Alva Glen Heritage Trust and that proposed by the OLP to improve and promote the Glen, demonstrating the historical influences that shaped the landscape and it's use as a community space. The Alva And It's Kirkyard walk will highlight significant historical features which relate to the proposed Hillfoots Town and Kirkyard Trails. The OLP proposes the preservation and presentation of these notable features. The OLP boundary area is steeped in history and both of these walks will illustrate what cultural heritage this section of the Hillfoots boasts.

The spectacular Alva Glen is a steeply wooded gorge that cuts in to the Ochil Hills. It has a rich history with evidence of prehistoric activity as well as Pictish and Roman remains in the area. There are links with St Serf (St Servanus) whose Chapel and Well are local sites. Alva was mainly an agricultural area until the 1820s when the local landowner, James Johnstone, keen to help develop the wool industry, opened up Alva Glen as a source of water power. He blasted away rock faces and constructed a dam from which the water was conveyed to the mills along wooden troughs or lades. He cut a footpath through the rock creating the Glen which has remained, largely unchanged to the present day. The use of water powered mills transformed the area into a major textile manufacturing base. By 1830 Alva had nine water-powered spinning mills.

Traces of old Alva can still be seen in the town, many of which derive either from the influence of the great lairds of Alva House or from the mills, the finest of which, Strude Mill, still dominates the town. Alva Kirkyard features the Johnstone Mausoleum which was designed by Robert and James Adam for John Johnstone (1734-1795). He bought the Alva estate from James Erskine, Lord Alva, in 1775 and the mausoleum was built c1789 for the remains of his wife Caroline (d.1778) and himself. It is one of only four Adam mausolea in Scotland.

The mausoleum has now been restored: the structure has been pointed and strengthened; the pitched roof built in the late 19th century to protect the monuments in the extension was removed and replaced by a lower pitched glass roof, allowing the memorials in both parts of the building to be viewed properly for the first time in many years; damaged railings on the eastern approach to the mausoleum have also been replaced.

The walks will leave Parklands at 1pm and there is capacity for 20-25 people on each walk. Please contact the Landscape Partnership Development Officer at if you would like to attend one of these walks.

The walk to Alva Glen will be guided by Alva Glen Heritage Trust and the Ochils Landscape Partnership and the walk to Alva's Kirkyard will be guided by Clackmannanshire Council's Museum and Heritage Service and the Ochils Landscape Partnership.

Notes to Editors

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported more than 26,000 projects, allocating over 4billion across the UK and more than 1/2billion across Scotland.

For more information, visit