Landscape Legacies of Coal Mining: Clackmannan and Stirlingshire


The project is led by Catherine Mills and Alasdair Ross. It focuses on historic abandoned colliery sites in Clackmannan and Stirlingshire. The key aims are to capture the legacy of the decline of the coal mining industry through the medium of the landscape and in conversation with local residents and celebrate the sites from abandonment to present day in a series of interlinked heritage trails. These will be available on a smart phone app that is free to download and launched at the end of September.

The study initially focuses on three abandoned colliery sites, Polmaise 3 &4 at Fallin (also including Polmaise 1 & 2 at Millhall), Stirlingshire, at the Devon colliery and Meta pit at Fishcross, and Tillicoultry 1 in Clackmannanshire. 

It forms part of an arts and community heritage initiative undertaken by the Macrobert Arts Centre themed around coal.  This consists of a series of creative workshops in the coal mining communities of Fallin and Sauchie that will encourage local people to connect with, explore record and relate to their mining heritage, a contemporary dance performance entitled ‘Coal’ produced by Gary Clark that depicts life in the colliery communities during the miners’ strike and a visual arts exhibition ‘Under-Mined’ by Philip Gurrey  that will reflect the impact of the industry on the working people of Scotland.  

Post-industrial landscapes are generally understood through an economic and social policy lens and associated with loss, poverty, social dislocation and poverty. Less visible are the counterviews. These environments offer wild spaces in which flora and fauna can flourish alongside leisure and play opportunities free from overt regulation as well as narrating past industrial glories and shaping communal memory, identity and a sense of place. The ‘Landscape Legacies’ project intersects both strands of the current debate.

The aim is to establish official and unofficial landscape histories of the site. How the colliery sites have both been remediated, re-purposed and redeveloped and how the industry has been remember/commemorated, or not as the case may be, from closure to present day. The study will also include identification of remaining industrial archaeology and the cultural legacy in the wider landscape such as housing, bowling greens and social clubs. It also aims to understand how these sites have historically been, and are currently valued, socially, culturally and environmentally by the local communities.  

The project combines traditional archival research with a particular emphasis on historic maps, images, sound recordings, oral histories and film, with ethnographic approaches.


If you have a story to tell, or you would like to be involved in the project, or you simply want more information please contact Catherine.


Telephone 01786 647583

© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
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