Gartmorn Dam Country Park Development Trust


Next Board Meeting

Due to Covid, meetings have been postponed. We hope to hold an Annual General Meeting in March 2022 (in person). Keep in touch with the website and Facebook for details.



We would very much like to ask someone in the wider membership / interested community to help and join the board. We need to spread the load over more shoulders.

The Trust

The Gartmorn Dam Country Park Development Trust is a group of interested individuals and organisations who see the benefits of working together to develop the area around the dam. We are keen to engage as many individuals and organisations as possible in supporting the trust and invite you to become a member.

The trust aims

- to work in collaboration with local landowners to support the protection, conservation and enhancement of the environment of the park and its surroundings.

- to develop outdoor recreation, education and learning facilities which are consistent with and sensitive to the country park and its surroundings.

- to promote the benefit of the Gartmorn Dam Country Park and surroundings for all sections of the local community and all visitors to the park.

For more detail, please refer to our constitution.

Industrial History

The history of Gartmorn Dam reaches back in time to the late 17th century when it was first constructed. This included a lade to New Sauchie. It appears to be the first built water reservoir in Scotland.

This was thanks to the vision of John, the 6th earl of Mar who looked to build the dam to deepen the small Gartmorn Loch and gather more water. Brothie Burn, the natural feed for the reservoir, has a very small catchment area for rain water. To get a better flow of water a 16 foot high weir was built on the Black Devon by Forestmill and a new near 2 mile long lade was constructed to feed Gartmorn Dam with extra water from there.

The water from the dam first was used to drive pumps to remove water from coal mines in the area around and adjacent to the dam and via the Upper Lade as well for the New Sauchie collieries. A Lower Lade later also supplied industry in Alloa. In 1891 the Gartmorn system was acquired by the Burgh of Alloa and became its public water supply.

The lade from Forestmill was cut off after open cast mining above Forestmill contaminated the water supply with clay particles blocking the filter system and is currently not feeding any water to Gartmorn Dam and the reservoir is now no longer a public water supply.

However, industrial development of Alloa bloomed thanks to Gartmorn’s once plentiful supply of good quality water and the town was known as “The town built on water”.

Natural History and the Country Park

The reservoir is based on a natural loch that occurred here before the damming took place and as such was always home to water-loving wildlife, from very small as insects to larger like otters.

Gartmorn Dam was recognised as a nationally important site of special scientific interest (SSSI) in 1971 with a variety of rare pond weeds and part of it is also designated as a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) as it is an important site for migratory wildfowl in the winter months. Many birds also live at Gartmorn all year round and breed here in the summer time, like the Great Crested Grebe.

Wild brown trout are at home in the water body and often shoals of young perch can be seen. They live in high densities as it helps them to avoid being eaten by larger fish, such as local pike.

In 1982 it became Clackmannanshire’s first and only Country Park with the old pump house behind the dam serving as a visitor centre. A purpose-built visitor centre was added in 1996. The council’s Ranger Service is looking after life in the park and runs events for visitors and volunteers.

The 170 acre reservoir is now owned by Scottish Water and the lands making up the rest of the 370 acre Country Park surrounding the reservoir are owned by Clackmannanshire Council, the Forestry Commission and private landowners. It is an important local nature refuge and an area of wildlife sensitive recreation and exercise that is open to everyone in all seasons.