Siorrachd Chlach Mhanann
Coat of arms of Clackmannanshire Siorrachd Chlach Mhanann
Official logo of Clackmannanshire Siorrachd Chlach Mhanann
Coordinates: 56°10′N 3°45′W / 56.167°N 3.750°W / 56.167; -3.750
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Lieutenancy areaClackmannanshire
Admin HQAlloa (since 1822)
Clackmannan (until 1822)
 • BodyClackmannanshire Council
 • ControlSNP minority (council NOC)
 • MPs
 • MSPs
 • Total61.5 sq mi (159.2 km2)
 • RankRanked 30th
 • Total51,540
 • RankRanked 29th
 • Density840/sq mi (320/km2)
ONS codeS12000005
ISO 3166 codeGB-CLK

Clackmannanshire (/klækˈmænənˌʃɪər, -ʃər/ ; Scots: Clackmannanshire; Scottish Gaelic: Siorrachd Chlach Mhanann), or the County of Clackmannan, is a historic county, council area, registration county and lieutenancy area in Scotland, bordering the council areas of Stirling, Fife, and Perth and Kinross. In terms of historic counties it borders Perthshire, Stirlingshire and Fife.

The name consists of elements from three languages. The first element is from Scottish Gaelic: Clach meaning "Stone". Mannan is a derivative of the Brythonic name of the Manaw, the Iron Age tribe who inhabited the area. The final element is the English word shire. As Britain's smallest historic county, it is often nicknamed "The Wee County". When written, Clackmannanshire is commonly abbreviated to Clacks.


The Stone of Mannan

Clackmannanshire takes its name from the original county town of Clackmannan, which is named after a stone anciently associated with the pre-Christian deity Manau or Mannan.[1][2] The stone now rests on a larger stone beside the surviving tower of Clackmannan Tolbooth and the Mercat Cross at the top of Main street, Clackmannan.[3]

Clackmannanshire became known for the weaving mills powered by the Hillfoots burns. Other industries included brewing, glass manufacture, mining and ship building. Now capitalising on its central position and transport links, Clackmannanshire attracts service industries and tourism.

The motto of Clackmannanshire is "Look Aboot Ye" (Circumspice in Latin). In 2007 a re-branding exercise led to the area adopting the slogan "More Than You Imagine".[4]

Administrative history

Clackmannanshire's origins as a shire (the area controlled by a sheriff) are unclear; it had certainly become a shire by 1305, with some suggestion that it may have already existed in the early 1200s.[5]

Clackmannan, the historic county town. The tower is the surviving part of the tolbooth.

The county town was originally Clackmannan, where a tolbooth was built in 1592 to serve as the sheriff court for the county. Commissioners of Supply were established in 1667 to act as the main administrative body for the shire. In 1822 the sheriff court and meeting place of the commissioners was moved from Clackmannan to Alloa, which had grown to become the more significant town.[6] County Buildings was built in 1865 at the corner of Mar Street and Drysdale Street in Alloa to serve as the courthouse and meeting place for the commissioners.[7][8]

County Buildings, Mar Street, Alloa

Elected county councils were established in 1890 under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889, taking most of the functions of the commissioners (which were eventually abolished in 1930). Clackmannanshire County Council held its first meeting on 22 May 1890 at the County Buildings in Alloa, which would serve as the county council's headquarters until its abolition in 1975.[9]

The 1889 act also led to a review of boundaries, with several exclaves being transferred to a county they actually bordered, and parishes which straddled more than one county being adjusted such that each parish was entirely in a single county. These changes saw Clackmannanshire cede Cambuskenneth to Stirlingshire, whilst it gained Alva from Stirlingshire and parts of Alloa parish which had been in Perthshire.[10]

Clackmannanshire County Council was abolished in 1975 under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, which replaced Scotland's counties, burghs and landward districts with a two-tier structure of upper-tier regions and lower-tier districts. Clackmannanshire became part of the Central region and a Clackmannan district was created covering the pre-1975 county plus the parish of Muckhart, which had been in Perthshire prior to 1975.[11]

Further local government reforms in 1996 under the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 saw the regions and districts created in 1975 abolished and replaced with council areas providing all local government services. Clackmannan district became one of the new council areas, taking on the functions of the abolished Central Regional Council.[12] The 1994 act originally named the new council area "Clackmannan", but the shadow authority elected in 1995 requested a change of name to "Clackmannanshire", which was agreed by the government before the new council area came into force on 1 April 1996.[13]


Clackmannanshire Council

Comhairle Siorrachd Chlach Mhanann
Coat of arms or logo
Phil Fairlie,
since 25 May 2022
Ellen Forson,
since 12 Apr 2018
Nikki Bridle
since July 2018[14]
Seats18 councillors
8 / 18
5 / 18
3 / 18
1 / 18
1 / 18
Single transferable vote
Last election
6 May 2022
Next election
Meeting place
Kilncraigs, Greenside Street, Alloa, FK10 1EB

Political control

The first election to Clackmannan District Council was held in 1974, initially operating as a shadow authority alongside the outgoing authorities until the new system came into force on 16 May 1975. A shadow authority was again elected in 1995 ahead of the change to council areas which came into force on 1 April 1996. Political control since 1975 has been as follows:[15]

Clackmannan District Council
Party in control Years
No overall control 1975–1977
SNP 1977–1980
Labour 1980–1996

Clackmannanshire Council
Party in control Years
Labour 1996–1999
No overall control 1999–2000
SNP 2000–2003
Labour 2003–2007
No overall control 2007–present


The leaders of the council since 1996 have been:[16]

Councillor Party From To
Teresa McNally[17] Labour 1 Apr 1996 Feb 1998
Jim Watson[18] Labour Feb 1998 May 1999
Keith Brown[19] SNP May 1999 May 2003
Margaret Paterson[20] Labour May 2003 May 2007
Janet Cadenhead Labour 24 May 2007 23 Sep 2010
Sam Ovens Labour 23 Sep 2010 6 Jan 2012
Gary Womersley SNP 6 Jan 2012 3 Nov 2014
Les Sharp SNP 3 Nov 2014 12 Apr 2018
Ellen Forson SNP 12 Apr 2018


Since 2014, the council has been based at Kilncraigs, on Greenside Street in Alloa.

After the 1975 local government reorganisation, the old headquarters of Clackmannanshire County Council at the County Buildings reverted to being solely a courthouse, and the old county council's overflow offices in converted houses along nearby Marshill passed to the Central Regional Council. The Clackmannan District Council acquired a modern office building called The Whins on Whins Road to serve as its headquarters, and also took over the former Alloa Town Council building at Greenfield House on Mar Place.[21]

Greenfield House had been built as a house in 1894 and had been bought by the old town council in 1952, with its gardens becoming a public park. In 1987 Greenfield House was extended, allowing it to become the district council's headquarters, with The Whins subsequently being turned into the Alloa Business Centre. Greenfield House then served as the council's headquarters until 2014.[22][23][24]

In 2014 the council moved to Kilncraigs, which had been built in 1904 as the offices, factory and warehouse of John Paton, Son and Co, manufacturers of knitting yarn. After the factory closed the whole building had been converted to offices in 2004.[25][26]


Since 2007 elections have been held every five years under the single transferable vote system, introduced by the Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004. Election results since 1995 have been as follows:[15]

Year Seats SNP Labour Conservative Green Liberal Democrats Independent / Other Notes
1995 12 3 8 1 0 0 0
1999 18 9 8 1 0 0 0 New ward boundaries.[27]
2003 18 6 10 1 0 0 1
2007 18 7 8 1 0 1 1 New ward boundaries.[28]
2012 18 8 8 1 0 0 1
2017 18 8 5 5 0 0 0 New ward boundaries.[29]
2022 18 9 5 3 1 0 0


Since 2007, the council area has been divided into five multi-member wards:

Location Ward name Settlements Seats Population
1 Clackmannanshire West Menstrie, Glenochil, Tullibody, Cambus 4 12,606[30]
2 Clackmannanshire North Alva, Tillicoultry, Coalsnaughton 4 10,731[31]
3 Clackmannanshire Central Sauchie, Fishcross, Alloa[a] 3 7,936[32]
4 Clackmannanshire South Alloa[b] 4 11,618[33]
5 Clackmannanshire East Clackmannan, Dollar, Muckhart, Kennet, Forestmill, Solsgirth, Alloa[c] 3 8,649[34]
Total 18 51,540
  1. ^ Clackmannanshire Central covers north-eastern parts of Alloa (Branshill, Fairfield, Hallpark, Whins, Woodlea).
  2. ^ Clackmannanshire South covers most of Alloa other than north-eastern parts and the modern Alloa Park development in the south-east.
  3. ^ Clackmannanshire East covers the Alloa Park development since 2017 – the addition of which was the only boundary change in a 2017 national review.


The council area is divided into nine community council areas, eight of which have community councils as at 2023, being those marked with an asterisk below.[35]

Coat of arms

Clackmannanshire's coat of arms is blazoned:

Or, a saltire gules; upon a chief vert, between two gauntlets proper, a pale argent charged with a pallet sable.

The red saltire on gold is taken from the arms of the Clan Bruce. According to legend, Robert Bruce mislaid his gauntlets while visiting the county, and upon asking where he could find them was told to "look aboot ye" (hence the motto). The green chief represents the county's agriculture, while the black and white pale is taken from the arms of the Clan Erskine whose chief the Earl of Mar lives at Alloa Tower. Sir Thomas Bruce 1st Baron of Clackmannan was a member of the House of Bruce and received lands in Clackmannan from his cousin Robert II.

Wider politics

In the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, Clackmannanshire was the first council area to declare its result. Though some predictions had seen the area as being favourable towards the "Yes" side, the "No" vote took 53.8% of the area's vote. This was seen as an early sign that Scotland would vote against independence.[36]

In the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, Clackmannanshire voted by 58% to remain.[37]

Parliamentary constituencies

See also: Category:Politics of Clackmannanshire


The River Forth at Alloa showing Alloa Inch and Tullibody Inch (at right)

In terms of population, Clackmannanshire is the smallest council area in mainland Scotland. Its population was 51,540 (in 2021),[38] around half of whom live in the main town and administrative centre, Alloa.

Ben Cleuch in the Ochil Hills, the highest point of Clackmannanshire at 721 metres (2,365 ft)

The Ochil Hills dominate the northern third of the county, where Ben Cleuch, Clackmannanshire's highest point, can be found. The northernmost salient of the county lies along the Upper Glendevon Reservoir. Strathdevon is immediately to the south of the steep escarpment formed by the Ochil Fault, along which the Hillfoots Villages are located. Strathdevon mostly comprises a lowland plain a few hundred metres either side of the River Devon, which joins the Forth near Cambus. There is also the Black Devon river that flows past the town of Clackmannan to join the Forth near Alloa. This confluence once had a small pier, for portage to Dunmore pier on the south shore, and anchorage of smaller sailing ships, while others of greater tonnage could be accepted at Dunmore pier on the opposite banks of the Forth. Roughly in the centre of the county lies the Gartmorn Dam County Park, and there are small patches of forest in the south-east of the county. Two unnamed peninsulas are formed by meanders in the river Forth along Clackmannanshire's southern boundary; the easternmost of these has two small islands - Tullibody Inch and Alloa Inch - either side of it.


A glassworks building with large towers on the banks of an area of water
Owens-Illinois glassworks in Alloa

The main industries are agriculture, brewing, and formerly coal mining. In 2006, permission was given for a waterfront development of the Docks area of Alloa, which has been in decline since the 1960s.[citation needed] There is a large glass works at Alloa.[39]


Alloa railway station reopened in May 2008; prior to this the county had no active railway stations. A new railway line was completed which connected Kincardine and Stirling, and thus reconnecting Alloa to the national rail network for the first time since 1968, was opened to the public. Scheduled passenger services operate only between Alloa and Stirling and onwards to Glasgow and Edinburgh; the line to Kincardine is normally used by freight trains only but some special excursion trains are run by charter operators. An opening ceremony was held on Thursday 15 May 2008, with the first fully functioning passenger service commencing in the new summer timetable on 19 May 2008.[40][41] The service provides an hourly connection between Alloa, Stirling and Glasgow Queen Street.

Alloa railway station

The Clackmannanshire Bridge, a new road crossing of the Forth intended to ease congestion and pressure on the older Kincardine Bridge, opened in 2008 (technically the span of the new bridge is not within the county, instead falling just outside it and administratively divided between Falkirk and Fife).

Major roads in the area are the A91 between Bannockburn and St Andrews which is the main thoroughfare through the Hillfoots Villages, the A907 between Stirling and Dunfermline which passes through Alloa and Clackmannan, the A908 connecting Alloa and Tillicountry, and the A977 (fed by the A876) between Kincardine and Kinross which runs east of Clackmannan.


Alloa, current administrative centre and Clackmannanshire's largest town
Largest settlements by population
Settlement Population
(mid-2020 est.)[42]




















Other settlements

Places of interest

Castle Campbell, a medieval castle situated above the town of Dollar
Tullibody Old Kirk, a ruined 12th-century church in Tullibody


  1. ^ "File:Clackmannan sign about stone, cross and tollbooth.jpg - Wikimedia Commons". Retrieved 19 September 2012.
  2. ^ Site Record for Clackmannan, King Robert's Stone Clackmannan StoneDetails Details
  3. ^ "Image of the Stone of Mannan". 19 February 2007. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
  4. ^ "Logo and Visual Identity Survey" (PDF). Clackmannanshire Council.
  5. ^ Chalmers, George (1894). Caledonia (Volume 7). Paisley: Alexander Gardner. p. 89. Retrieved 19 April 2023.
  6. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Clackmannan Tolbooth, Mercat Cross and Clackmannan Stone, Main Street, Clackmannan (Category A Listed Building) (LB1947)". Retrieved 19 April 2023.
  7. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Alloa Sheriff Court and Justice of the Peace Court (LB20970)". Retrieved 18 July 2021.
  8. ^ "County Office, Mar Street, Alloa". Canmore. Retrieved 18 July 2021.
  9. ^ "Clackmannan County Council". Alloa Advertiser. 24 May 1890. p. 2. Retrieved 19 April 2023.
  10. ^ Shennan, Hay (1892). Boundaries of counties and parishes in Scotland as settled by the Boundary Commissioners under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889. Edinburgh: W. Green. p. 271. Retrieved 19 April 2023.
  11. ^ "Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973",, The National Archives, 1973 c. 65, retrieved 17 April 2023
  12. ^ "Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994",, The National Archives, 1994 c. 39, retrieved 17 April 2023
  13. ^ "Historical information from 1973 onwards". Boundary-Line support. Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 17 February 2023.
  14. ^ "Nikki appointed as chief executive for Clacks". Alloa Advertiser. 19 July 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2023.
  15. ^ a b "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2023.
  16. ^ "Council minutes". Clackmannanshire Council. Retrieved 19 April 2023.
  17. ^ "First meeting - after 666 years". Stirling Observer. 28 April 1995. p. 5. Retrieved 20 April 2023.
  18. ^ "Watson takes over Clacks leader reins". Stirling Observer. 27 February 1998. p. 12. Retrieved 20 April 2023.
  19. ^ "Clacks swings to SNP". Stirling Observer. 14 May 1999. p. 11. Retrieved 20 April 2023.
  20. ^ "Deputy Lieutenants". Lord Lieutenancy of Clackmannanshire. Retrieved 20 April 2023.
  21. ^ 1984 Telephone Directory
  22. ^ "Go-ahead for move to new HQ". Stirling Observer. 6 June 1986. p. 1. Retrieved 20 April 2023.
  23. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Greenfield House (now District Council offices) (Category B Listed Building) (LB21010)". Retrieved 20 April 2023.
  24. ^ Forsyth, Valerie (6 February 2019). "A walk in the past: The 1914 inferno at Greenfield House". Alloa Advertiser. Retrieved 20 April 2023.
  25. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Greenside Street, Kilncraigs (Category A Listed Building) (LB20956)". Retrieved 20 April 2023.
  26. ^ "Kilncraigs Building, Greenside Street, Alloa". Clackmannanshire Council. Retrieved 20 April 2023.
  27. ^ "The Clackmannanshire (Electoral Arrangements) Order 1998",, The National Archives, SI 1998/3101, retrieved 20 April 2023
  28. ^ Scottish Parliament. The Clackmannanshire (Electoral Arrangements) Order 2006 as made, from
  29. ^ Scottish Parliament. The Clackmannanshire (Electoral Arrangements) Order 2016 as made, from
  30. ^ Electoral Ward: Clackmannanshire West, Scottish Government Statistics
  31. ^ Electoral Ward: Clackmannanshire North, Scottish Government Statistics
  32. ^ Electoral Ward: Clackmannanshire Central, Scottish Government Statistics
  33. ^ Electoral Ward: Clackmannanshire South, Scottish Government Statistics
  34. ^ Electoral Ward: Clackmannanshire East, Scottish Government Statistics
  35. ^ "Introduction to Community Councils". Clackmannanshire Council. Retrieved 20 April 2023.
  36. ^ "First Blood To No As Opening Count Declared". Sky News. 19 September 2014.
  37. ^ "EU Referendum local results - C". BBC News. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  38. ^ "Mid-Year Population Estimates, UK, June 2021". Office for National Statistics. 21 December 2022. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  39. ^ "Scotland's glass industry still thriving after more than 300 years". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  40. ^ "Railway information | Clackmannanshire Council". 19 May 2008. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
  41. ^ "Stirling Alloa Kincardine Railway celebrates first anniversary". ClacksWeb. 15 May 2008. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
  42. ^ "Mid-2020 Population Estimates for Settlements and Localities in Scotland". National Records of Scotland. 31 March 2022. Retrieved 31 March 2022.