The caves have been badly affected by weather, industrial use and vandalism. In the early part of the 20th century, brick pillars were erected in the Court Cave to combat subsidence caused by coal-mining but even these couldn’t prevent the roof of the cave mouth from collapsing. The West Doo Cave, containing many of the finest carvings on site, collapsed during the First World War due to a coastal gun position above.
It has been our urgent priority to make a digital recording of all heritage and landscape assets to establish a baseline against which to monitor their condition. The result was the 4D Wemyss Caves website which uses this baseline data to allow users to study and explore the caves in a fully interactive environment.
We operate an annual schedule of observation and recording to monitor changes in condition against the baseline measurements and can now respond quickly to incidents of vandalism thanks to graffiti removal training provided by Historic Environment Scotland.
Working with HES and Fife Council, we have also overseen the erection of signage notifying visitors of the protected status of the caves and castle.
What we plan to do
- Conduct a structural stability survey and undertake any resultant mitigation measures that may be recommended. A tendering document is currently being drafted by Fife Council;
- Assess the overall security of the site and protection of the caves including commissioning a report on managing and restricting access.