Nestled in the heart of Scotland, Clackmannanshire, often referred to simply as "Clacks," encompasses Scotland's smallest county. Flanked by highlands to the north and lowlands to the south, this stunning 'Wee County' embodies the best of both worlds - remarkable historical significance and awe-inspiring natural beauty.

In our area guide, we journey across Clacks – a region abundant in heritage and rich in scenery, from the breathtaking Ochil Hills to the serene waters of Gartmorn Dam. We delve into practical insights about life in Clackmannanshire, including education, transport links, and property and living expenses, designed to guide your relocation to this magical place.

History of Clackmannanshire

Clackmannanshire carries a deep-rooted history dating back to ancient times. Once under the control of the native Pictish Kingdom, this county witnessed a plethora of significant events from Roman invasions to the Industrial Revolution. Its name derives from the Gaelic term Clach Mannain, signifying 'Mannan's Stone,' a legendary element rooted in folklore. Remarkably, it was an epicentre in Scotland’s Industrial Revolution, evidenced in the many old mill buildings and the impressive mining heritage. This historical gravity lends an enrapturing uniqueness to Clackmannanshire residents


Clackmannanshire is adorned with several significant landmarks. The most prominent one being the National Wallace Monument, a towering stone testament to Sir William Wallace, a hero of Scotland's struggle for independence. The Castle Campbell, nestled high above Dollar, offers picturesque views of the surrounding landscape. Lastly, the Alloa Tower, a 14th-century stone stronghold renowned as Scotland's largest surviving keep, beautifully encapsulates Clackmannanshire's medieval past.

Landmarks we love

  • Gartmorn Dam Country Park and Nature Reserve, Sauchie: This is one of Clackmannanshire's hidden treasures, providing picturesque walking trails and an abundant wildlife habitat.
  • The Silver Glen, Alva: A living testament to Clackmannanshire's historic mining industry, where silver was once extracted.
  • Clackmannan Tower, Clackmannan: A 14th-century tower offering panoramic views of the River Forth.
  • The Speirs Centre, Alloa: A beautifully restored building housing a library, local heritage services, and community facilities.
  • Ochil Hills, Clackmannan: A haven for walkers, wildlife enthusiasts, and those who appreciate awe-inspiring landscapes, providing unmatched views of the entire ‘Wee County’.

Top 10 things to do in Clackmannanshire

  • Visit Alloa Tower: Explore this medieval keep and marvel at its grandeur.
  • Cycling in Devon Way: Enjoy a leisurely bike ride along the peaceful Devon Way, a former railway line.
  • Explore Menstrie Castle: Delve into history at the birthplace of Sir William Alexander, a founder of Nova Scotia.
  • Wander in Dollar Glen: Breathe in the woodland air as you wander around the charming Dollar Glen.
  • Wildlife spotting at Gartmorn Dam: Enjoy a quiet day spotting native wildlife at this tranquil nature reserve.
  • Explore Castle Campbell: Roam around this manicured castle, enjoying picturesque views.
  • Visit The Speirs Centre: Dive into local history at this comprehensive community centre.
  • Take a trip to Tillicoultry Quarries: Discover a side of Clacks' history by visiting this landmark unique to the region's past.
  • Hike in the Ochil Hills: Spend a day hiking in the Ochils, taking in the stunning panoramic views.
  • Explore the Silver Glen: Wander around this historic mine site, learning about Clacks' rich industrial history.

Our recommended areas to live in Clackmannanshire

  • Alloa: As the county town of Clackmannanshire, Alloa offers excellent amenities and transport links while still retaining its historic charm.
  • Dollar: Famous for its prestigious academy and the stunning Castle Campbell, Dollar offers a high standard of living amidst scenic surroundings.
  • Menstrie: Located at the foot of the Ochil Hills, Menstrie is a quiet and scenic village offering an excellent quality of life.
  • Tillicoultry: Considered the gateway to the Ochils, Tillicoultry boasts tremendous natural beauty while providing convenient access to larger urban centres.
  • Clackmannan: This ancient town offers a tranquil, slower-paced lifestyle along with easy access to nearby Stirling and Falkirk.

Best schools in Clackmannanshire

Clackmannanshire boasts a diverse range of high-quality educational establishments, from primary and secondary schools to colleges and special educational needs institutions. The area offers seven primary schools, three secondary schools, and a diverse mixture of private and public schools. Alloa Academy, Lornshill Academy and Dollar Academy are known for their consistent high performance. For younger children, there are several excellent primaries, including Abercromby Primary School, Strathdevon Primary and Deerpark Primary School. For those pursuing further education, Forth Valley College offers a broad range of courses and modern facilities.

Transport links in Clackmannanshire

Despite its rural nature, Clackmannanshire enjoys excellent connectivity. The A91, A907 and A908 provide easy road access across Scotland, while Alloa railway station offers regular services to Stirling, Glasgow and Edinburgh. A robust bus network also facilitates convenient local travel. Additionally, Clackmannanshire is within half an hour's reach of the major airports, providing a gateway to international travel.

In summary, Clackmannanshire offers a unique blend of stunning landscapes, historical richness, and modern amenities. From its majestic landmarks like National Wallace Monument and Castle Campbell to its excellent educational institutions and stellar transport links, 'Clacks' is a picturesque, comfortable place to call home. Whether you're seeking the tranquil pace of Menstrie or the conveniences offered in Alloa, the county promises a lifestyle steeped in Scottish charm and a strong community spirit unparalleled in its closeness – living true to its moniker, the 'Wee County'.

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