Monks Cave, Charles Hill (Aberdour)

A short 1.6 mile walk out to the Charles Hill headland between Aberdour and Dalgety Bay to visit the Monks Cave shelter and wartime fortifications. This unique shelter built into the side of a cliff is thought to be of 15th century construction and was apparently used by monks from Incholm Abbey whilst waiting for a boat across to the island and as storage.

Distance: 1.6 miles / 2.6 km

Ascent: 165 feet / 50m

Start/finish: Aberdour (Braefoot)

Facilities: parking in small car park at grid ref NT 180 844, other facilities in Aberdour.

For a longer walk, this could be combined with the Braefoot and St Bridget’s walk or incorporated into a Dalgety Bay to Aberdour coastal walk.

From the small car park at NT 180 844 on the Aberdour to Braefoot Marine Terminal road, walk down the road to the Braefoot Terminal. To your left is a staff car park (probably not a good idea to try using this rather than the public car park up the road). Walk through the car park to the south east corner where a track heads into the woods.

This track skirts around the edge of Aberdour golf course (watch out for golfers) to reach a gate. Ignore the keep out sign on the gate (under the Land Reform (Scotland) 2003 act there is no legal basis for this sign), and climb over the gate. If there are sheep around then keep dogs on a lead. Continue on along the track almost to its end.  About 30m before the end of the track there is a feint path on your right hand side across the grass. You may need to look closely for it.

Follow this path across the grassy headland for about 100m to the vicinity of the Monks Cave NT 185 837. The shelter is not visible from the path but look for a flattish area (which is the roof of the shelter) next to some bushes. Descend the not too obvious path on the left side of the flat area for a short distance to reach a grassy ledge in front of the cave. The descent to the cave may be slippy if the grass is wet, so wear footwear with a good grip. If you suffer from vertigo you may find the cave a bit challenging.

After exploring the cave, return the way you came back to the track. Turn right and proceed to the end of the road to reach the Charles Hill Battery which is also worth spending a bit of time exploring.

Return to the car park by the outward route. There is another pillbox off to your left which you might also want to divert to via a reasonable track.

View / download this route on Viewranger.

View / download this route on Ordnance Survey website.


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