Call to Trust to help village business

Damage to fife coastal path at west wemyss
Damage to fife coastal path at west wemyss

A West Wemyss business claims damage to the Fife Coastal Path near to the village is having a detrimental effect on its customer numbers.

The West Wemyss Walk Inn, which is still operating as a cafe while the rest of the business is restructured, relies heavily on passing trade from those walking along the famous coastal route.

Fife Coastal Path

Fife Coastal Path

But Mikko Ramstedt, who sits on the board of the West Wemyss Community Development Trust, said that signs put up by Fife Coast and Countryside Trust (FCCT) telling people that parts are closed is leading them to by-pass the village.

Several parts were damaged during particularly bad storms in 2012 and 2013, and it is up to FCCT to carry out all of the repairs.

Mr Ramstedt said that damage at both the entry to the village from Dysart, and the exit out to East Wemyss, had not been fully dealt with, and subsequently there are now deep gouges were the path should be.

“There are meter deep cuts where the path is missing entirely preventing proper and safe access particularly during spring tides when these are sometimes filled with water,” he said.

“To the west of the village, (heading out to East Wemyss and on to the East Neuk) the path is also damaged and continuously subject to erosion which makes it uninviting and unsafe.”

Mr Ramstedt explained that when the path is damaged, the FCCT place ‘path closed’ signs along the route.

However, he claims that walkers would be able to pass at different points, and local residents have actually taken the matter into their own hands to prevent people by-passing the village completely.

“Villagers have taken to removing signs as otherwise we would be entirely cut off from any visitors approaching via the coastal path,” he said.

He added: “For a community enterprise like the West Wemyss Walk Inn the coastal path is a lifeline.

‘‘Without passing trade a small village like ours is not big enough to support any hospitality business.

“We pay our taxes and what is needed is investment in return by FCCT and the Council so that villages like ours are supported in our attempts to regenerate these communities.”

A spokesman for Fife Coast and Countryside Trust said: “The coastal path is Scotland’s most popular coastal path, and the safety of its visitors is a priority.

“The dynamic nature and coastal environment can cause periodic erosion and subsidence of path sections that require us to continuously assess and maintain the entire path and, at times, close sections for safety.

“We try to keep closures as short as possible and provide diversions where we can while keeping public safety first.

“Around West Wemyss, high tide can damage the path and make it potentially unsafe for users.

“In these situations, our maintenance team will work as quickly as possible to repair it and make it safe for use again.

“The necessity to close the path for public safety is determined by the coastal ranger with consultation from the Trust’s coastal team leader and the maintenance team.”

They added: “We would advise everyone who enjoys exploring Fife Coastal Path to look out for signs and keep up to date with any closures on our website and social media.’’