A SMARTPHONE app that lets people explore historic coal mining sites in Clacks has been created by a University of Stirling academic.

Dr Catherine Mills created the app, which operates through interactive guided walks, to let others see how coal shaped different communities across Scotland.

Site routes at Polmaise and Devonside are currently featured, with Gartmorn Dam, East Stirlingshire Villages, and Dollar routes in development.

Dr Mills, a lecturer in modern British environmental history, said: "The app allows you to not only explore but also to connect and engage with local and historic coal mining sites.

"Users are encouraged to share their stories and images, discover additional features in the landscape for inclusion on the app and suggest ideas for new routes."

Scotland's once-booming coal mining industry, primarily located in the country's Central Belt, shaped local landscapes and the lives of those in mining communities.

She said: "It's not so long ago that coal had a place in everyday life in Central Scotland.

"The local landscape of the colliery towns and villages were dominated by the bing, headstock, railway sidings and associated buildings, housing, clubs and bowling greens.

"Rapid decline from the 1960s brought closure, demolition and subsequent repurposing of the colliery sites, which erased much of the industrial archaeology of one of Scotland's foremost industries.

"Our project aims to establish biographies for these sites – understanding how they have been remembered, or forgotten, by local communities, from closure to the present day.

"Our other objective, working with our students and local community volunteers, is to identify, record and celebrate this often hidden – but valuable – legacy through a series of curated heritage walks that narrate the story of coal, through the physical remains that are left."

Dr Mills will officially launch the app – which was created with support from Macroberts Arts Centre – at a free event on April 18, at Creative Stirling.

For more information about the event, or the app, visit tinyurl.com/y2bwonwl