Stairs at Wemyss Caves to be shored up thanks to repair cash

© DC Thomson
The Wemyss Caves.

Unsafe access to one of Scotland’s scheduled ancient monuments is to be improved.

Steps leading to the historic Wemyss Caves, which contain internationally important Pictish carvings, are in line for immediate repairs.

Almost £6,000 is being spent on fixing the stairs leading to the shore from Macduff Castle in East Wemyss.

Fife Council’s Levenmouth area manager Dave Paterson said their condition had been a matter of concern for local people over the last year.

Councillors on Levenmouth area committee were asked to approve the repairs and the decision was rubber-stamped at the first meeting after the break this week.

Mr Paterson said a local contractor was already on site.

“This project will provide a safe and secure stepped access down to the Castle Green site which provides further access to a number of the caves which are included as scheduled ancient monuments,” he said.

“The original aim of the stepped access at this site was to assist visitors to get to the cave site without having to navigate the uneven surface along the foreshore.”

He added the foreshore is now badly deteriorated due to the impact of storms and erosion and can only be used with significant care.

“This investment will future-proof the site for years to come,” he said.

Earlier this year, Fife Council formally signed up to an ambitious masterplan aimed at protecting the caves, seen as an important cultural resource.

Fears the combination of coastal erosion, coal mining and vandalism could put the site in jeapordy prompted the creation of the Wemyss Caves Conservation Management Plan to look at ways to secure the stability of the caves and carvings.

It also looks at managing and ensuring safe access to the caves and increasing knowledge of their cultural heritage.

The council is just one of the signatories, along with site owners the Wemyss Estate, Historic Environment Scotland, Save the Wemyss Ancient Caves Society, Fife Coast and Countryside Trust and the Scottish Coastal Archaeology and the Problem of Erosion Trust.