A gentle and attractive “coast and countryside” circular walk from the old pier at pretty Limekilns on the South Fife coast, overlooking the inner Forth Estuary. The focal point on the walk at the once busy, but now peaceful, harbour at Charlestown village, is the ruined remains of massive lime kilns, built into the cliffside.
Duration: 2 hours.
This is a scenic and varied walk on the northern shore and immediate hinterland of the Inner Forth Estuary in Fife. The route takes in pretty harbours, historic lime kilns and railways, the shady wooded valley of the Lyne Burn and a parkland environment around the Broomhill House mansion. Only minutes from the bustle of Dunfermline and industrial clamour at Rosyth, the linked villages of Limekilns and Charlestown are a picturesque haven of peace and quiet. In the 14thC, Limekilns was the main port for Scotland’s capital at the time, Dunfermline, with a constant trade to support the King’s court. The production of lime from local stone was the main industry but, in the 18thC, production moved to the enormous lime kilns quarried into the cliffs near the nearby planned village of Charlestown, built in the 1750s by Charles Bruce, Earl of Elgin, who chose to name it after himself! The now abandoned lime kilns are an extraordinary sight, conjuring up the impression of ruins from classical antiquity. An information board by the kilns, explains their more prosaic purpose, if no less impressive in terms of human ingenuity and industry. Before taking a circuit inland towards the architecturally significant Broomhill House, its ownership linked to Sir Robert the Bruce, the route takes in a section of the “Elgin” railway line, developed in the mid 18thC to carry coal and limestone from several collieries and quarries north and north-west of Dunfermline to the lime kilns at Charlestown harbour. Initially, the wagons were pulled by horses. Nearing the end of the walk we pass through the planned housing for lime kiln workers, built for utilitarian purposes, but now desirable as quaint, pretty terraced cottage homes. For more information on the recent project to safeguard the Charlestown Lime Kilns, see: https://www.innerforthlandscape.co.uk/projects/conserving-restoring/charlestown-limekilns
Tips and hints
Duration: 2 hours.
Transport/Parking: Frequent Stagecoach bus service (#6) from/to Dunfermline. Check timetables. Car-park at walk start/end point.
Length: 6.5 km / 4.04 mi
Height Gain: 89 meter. Height Loss: 89 meter.
Max Height: 40 meter. Min Height: 0 meter.
Surface: Moderate. A mix of pavements, good paths and hard-surfaced roads. Not suitable for an off-road mobility scooter due to traverse of an old railway track (after Waypoint 3) and well-established large fallen tree to be crossed (after Waypoint 5).
Child Friendly: Yes, if children are used to walks of this distance and overall ascent.
Dog Friendly: Yes, but on lead near to farm animals and on public access roads.
Refreshments: Options in Limekilns, Charlestown and Dunfermline.
Book recommendations for this region: