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Alva and the Ochils - - 688046.jpg
Alva and the Ochils
Grid reference: NS882970
Location: 56°9’11"N, 3°47’58"W
Population: 5,181  (2001)
Post town: Alva
Postcode: FK12
Dialling code: 01259
Local Government
Council: Clackmannanshire
Ochil and South Perthshire

Alva is a small town in a detached part of Stirlingshire locally situate in Clackmannanshire. It is one of a number of towns situated immediately to the south of the Ochil Hills, collectively referred to as the Hillfoots Villages or simply The Hillfoots. Alva had a resident population of 5,181 at the 2001 but has since been revised to 4,960 in 2006.

Alva is on the main A91 Stirling to St Andrews road.

The village's name appears to be from the Gaelic Allamhagh.


Alva lies right at the foot of the Ochil Hills. The Ochil Fault, movement of which gave rise to the steep southern scarp of the Ochils, coincides approximately with the old road along the base of the hills. The rock beneath the carse in this area is carboniferous.

Alva from Myreton Hill

The town is situated on slightly higher ground than the surrounding carse, being on two overlapping alluvial fans, made up of material deposited by the Carnaughton Glen and Alva Glen burns. The spectacular Alva Glen cuts into the Ochils immediately north of the town. Alva Burn flows from the glen, through Alva, and into the River Devon.

To the east of Alva Glen, and parallel to it, is the Silver Glen, where silver was mined at one time.[1] In the 19th century coal was mined at the Caroline Pit to the south of the town beside the River Devon, and has been mined in the higher ground to the south for a much longer period. A more recent attempt, the Glenochil Colliery, was not a success, and the site is now a prison.


During the Industrial Revolution, Alva developed as a textile manufacturing centre, with the, originally water-powered, woollen mills providing employment for locals and migrant workers to the area. The Mill Trail Centre is situated next to the Cochrane park and housed in the old Glentana Mill built in 1887. It houses permanent exhibitions about the history of the old woollen industry and the experiences of the many people employed in the industry. The Dalmore Works was built in 1874 for Wilson Brothers who produced textile products including tweed, woollen novelty fabrics and mohair and woollen rugs. The works were operated by Wilsons until 1964, when the failure of a joint company, Wilson Bros (Alva) Ltd, set up with McBean and Bishop Ltd caused the firm to lose the works.[2]


Alva has three churches:

About the town

This is a small town, with shops, a few pubs, a small library and a medical practice. There are two large parks - Johnstone Park and Cochrane Park, the latter of which contains the local hall (Cochrane Hall).

Every second Saturday in July, Johnstone Park is host to the Famous Alva Games, the last highland games event in Clackmannanshire.

The McArthur Braes, at the foot of Alva Glen, was once a formal park that has fallen into neglect; it is now being regenerated.[3]

Map of Alva from 1945


For more than 150 years, the annual Alva Games have been held in the town.[4]

Between 1937 and 1954, Alva Glen was famed for its annual Illuminations, which drew visitors from across Scotland. In 2004 the Illuminations were revived.


The most prominent building in Alva is Strude Mill, a former woollen mill that has been restored and converted to flats. It stands above the town at the base of the hills, and is clearly visible from some distance away.

Outside links

The Hillfoots Villages of Stirlingshire, Clackmannanshire and Perthshire

Blairlogie  • Menstrie  • Alva  • Tillicoultry  • Dollar  • Pool of Muckhart


  1. Stephen Moreton (author) (2007). Bonanzas and Jacobites: the story of the Silver Glen. Edinburgh: National Museums Scotland on behalf of Clackmannanshire Field Studies Society. 
  2. "MS 82WB Wilson Bros (Alva) Ltd". Archive Services Online Catalogue. University of Dundee.'82wb'). Retrieved 11 May 2012. 
  3. Alva Glen