Step back in time at Tentsmuir

Sculptures on the sculpture trail at Morton Lochs and Tentsmuir NNR, Forth and Borders Area.'�Lorne Gill/SNH
Sculptures on the sculpture trail at Morton Lochs and Tentsmuir NNR, Forth and Borders Area.'�Lorne Gill/SNH

Visitors to Tentsmuir Forest can now travel back in time nearly 9000 years!

There’s no need for a Tardis though, as a series of 10 sculptures by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) provides visitors with a guide to the area’s new nine-kilometre ‘timeline trail’.

The journey begins in the Mesolithic era when it is thought Tentsmuir reserve as it is now, was probably a low-lying island cut off from the mainland at high tide.

Around 7000 years ago it is thought a tsumani struck the area, changing the coastline for ever.

The 21-metre high wave caused by an underwater earthquakeoff the Norwegian coast, caused chaos for the early Mesolithic people living there.

This massive historical event is symbolised by a large wave sculpture which explains to visitors what happened all those thousands of years ago.

The sculpture trail then moves to 80AD — 1900 years ago — when the Romans established camp on the fertile moorland and then several centuries later it bcame a base for the Picts who used part of the area to graze their animals.

Later the Vikings were attracted by the rich resources of the land. Visitors will find out that the during this time, the coastline was gradually growing eastwards, closer to where it is today.

A sculpture of a medieval book shows how Tentsmuir was inhabited by sailors, bears and oxen and became known as a lawless place ‘home to outlaws and vagabonds’ in the years between 1057 and 1298AD.

Tentsmuir was finally put on the map in the 1600s when one of the first maps of the region was produced.

A century later, in the 1780s, a Danish Fleet was shipwrecked off the coast.

Some sailors settled in the area, giving rise to the name ‘Tents Moor’.

As well as the sculptures, visitors can learn more about Tenstmuir by visiting the Ice House and March stone, built to aid salmon fishing in the area between 1794 and the 1850’s.

SNH’s Tentsmuir reserve manager Tom Cunningham, who came up with the timeline trail idea, said: “I have the terrific job of seeing the area change daily, so to imagine how it’s changed over thousands of years is quite awe-inspiring.

“A walk along the trail is a real adventure with many discoveries along the way.”