Coastal erosion website could help Wemyss Caves

There have been concerns over the effect coastal erosion may have on the Wemyss Caves.
There have been concerns over the effect coastal erosion may have on the Wemyss Caves.

It is hoped that a new online tool to track coastal erosion could be used to help preserve the historic Wemyss Caves.

The new website,, was launched in Fife by Scottish Government cabinet secretary for environment and climate change; Roseanna Cunningham.

The site uses extensive research data to show how the coastline has moved since the 1800s, a feature which could come in handy when looking at the best way to protect the famous Wemyss Caves.

Gavin Hugh, of campaign group Save Wemyss Ancient Caves Society (SWACS), said: “The issue of coastal erosion, is very difficult to deal with as issues such as rising sea levels aren’t easy to detect with the naked eye.

“Erosion can take place over a significantly long time period, and as such the dangers aren’t as immediately apparent or often as well understood as other issues.

“The new Dynamic Coast website is a good resource for measuring the rate of coastal erosion across Scotland, and it certainly makes information on the issue more widely accessible and the effects easier to understand for anyone interested.

“Inevitably, protecting these caves will require investment and ongoing support to rise to the challenges of the sea.

“The alternative, of course, is not an option.

“The Wemyss Caves are thought to to be up to 8000 years old, and are believed to hold within them the highest concentration of Pictish carvings in Britain.

“They are an invaluable local heritage site on the Fife coast and the caves deserve widespread recognition.”

Archaologist Douglas Spiers said: “The caves are an asset of considerable archaeological signifincance, but an asset that poses significant management issues.

“Considerable work has been achieved of late in recording the caves and the work now being undertaken to monitor their condition will, in time, provide a valuable corpus of information from which to make informed decisions about their future.” identifies past erosion and growth rates, and projects the data forward to show the potential future change to Scotland’s coastline.

Nearly a fifth of Scotland’s coastline is at risk of erosion, threatening some of the country’s most prized land and infrastructure within the next 30 years.