Walk of the week: Limekilns

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IDEAL for winter (a wet, raw day for Jimbo and me), this five-mile walk of no hills has many features of historic interest.

The old settlement of Limekilns lies west of Rosyth and east of Broomhall; the latter home to Lord Elgin, whose ancestor, saviour or vandal, is forever associated with the Parthenon Marbles.

The village can trace its history back to the 14th century when it served as the main port for Dunfermline and was the northern terminus for a ferry linking it to Bo’ness across the Forth. The oldest building, the Kings’ Cellar, dates back to 1362. The main industries were the exportation of lime, coal and wool, with the natural harbour providing docking for small and medium-sized vessels of the time.

From 1750 the limekilns industry moved to nearby Charlestown, where it continued to operate until 1956. The ruins are protected by the National Trust for Scotland.


Head east from the car park by the old pier, map ref 075834. The shore-side walk initially follows the Fife Coastal Path and National Cycle Route 76. Pass by Capernaum Pier and the Forth Cruising Club, whose boats have been lifted ashore for winter storage. Beyond a Scout Hall and by now on a narrower path, pass a metal gate with a sign – please do not walk on the gabions, stone-filled cages built to prevent further damage to the sea wall.

Then look out on the left for a green sign, Windylaw Heritage Path, used for many centuries as a Coffin Road, where people carried their dead, possibly from as far away as Dunfermline, to (the remains of) Rosyth Church which lies further east. For those carrying the heavy coffins, it was downhill to the coast and a return uphill, fortunately by then, empty-handed. Head inland on a Tarmac then narrower path and into open fields with another green sign, Pattiesmuir. At this stage, climbing gently, look back to the right to Rosyth Dockyards. A fence with a stile leads into a wooded strip and curve east to clear the trees to meet a Tarmac path. Turn left to reach the A985, cross with care.

Continue to Douglas Bank Cemetery and slant left as signposted, Leckerstone and Grange Road. The good mapped path climbs by the edge of a wood and over Bellknowes. Leave the short section of rutted grassy track as signposted and pass by where, on our day, workmen from Fife Council were clearing the overgrown side hedges. Reach a broad farm track, turn left for the B9156 (do not turn right for Leckerstone) and use the narrow pavement on the left-hand side to reach the junction with the busy trunk road, the A985. Walk a bit further left before crossing, with care, to the lodge and entrance to the beautiful parkland of Broomhall Estate.

The Tarmac driveway quickly leads past Gellet Cottage to a sign, Broomhall Privacy Zone. Please use the alternative route and follow the arrows directing walkers through a gate into grassland to avoid the curtilage of the impressive mansion.

Follow the arrows to a path, then a smaller Tarmac drive which, curving through a wooded area, runs on the escarpment overlooking the Forth.

Pass the Queen’s Hall (built to celebrate the 50th jubilee of Queen Victoria’s reign in 1887, and now Charlestown’s village hall) to exit Broomhall Estate by metal gates. Turn left and so by steps to the coastal road and a signpost, Limekilns ½ mile. Head east on the pavement, cross over to the Esplanade and so back to the old pier.


Start 075834

Leave coastal path 084829

Wood 087833

Wood 092832

Cross A985 090835

Cemetery 091838

Track 089847

B9156 087847

A985 084840

Gellet 081842

Park 073837

Minor road 069836

Start 075834