Land that held the water that powered Carron Iron Works and an abandoned coal mine are now officially nature reserves.
The Carron Dams in Stenhousemuir and Kinneil Colliery at Bo’ness have been recognised as sites of special scientific interest by Scottish National Heritage and their plants and wildlife will now be protected by law.
There are hopes this new status will help Falkirk Council attract funding to allow them to make the two areas more accessible for people to enjoy.
Carron Dams, on the border of Stenhousemuir and Carron, was originally a holding dam supplying water for power and cooling to the legendary iron works which made everything from cannons and exploding shells to fireplaces, cookers and baths.
It is now home to Carron Phoenix, formerly Carron Stainless Products, a leader in the development and manufacture of high quality kitchen sinks and winner of a Queen’s Award for Exports.
Kinneil Colliery was one of the most worked coal mines in the country until its closure in 1983 and, thanks to the efforts of action group Friends of Kinneil, also has a positive future.
The mudflats off the foreshore have already been designated as a special protection area for seabirds.
The cost of maintaining and developing both sites will be met from existing Falkirk Council budgets but the ways of cashing in on grants from Scottish National Heritage and the Scottish Wildlife Trust to make both more accessible will be investigated.
Falkirk district now has three nature reserves. The first at Bonnyfield in Bonnybridge was designated in 2008.
Councillor Adrian Mahoney, convener of the leisure, tourism and community committee, said: “I’m delighted. All three have the potential to provide opportunities for people to enjoy, appreciate and manage their local natural heritage.
“I’m particularly pleased about the new status for Kinneil.
“This year marks the 30th anniversary of its closure which was a terrible blow to the community. But out of a bad situation came an opportunity to create something.”