A FORMER opencast mine near Kelty would be the "ideal place" for a national memorial dedicated to those accused of witchcraft.

That's the view of a charity who visited St Ninians last week and have been campaigning for a legal pardon, an apology and a lasting monument to the 4,000 Scots, mostly women, who were persecuted and killed for being 'in league with the devil'.

Land owners National Pride UK backed the idea of the memorial being built on their land and directors Irene Bisset and Andy Whitlock met with representatives from Remembering the Accused Witches of Scotland (RAWS) and local councillors.

Elizabeth McMann, trustee of RAWS, said: “We set out to get a pardon from the state, an apology from the church and a memorial to commemorate the accused witches in Scotland, as well as those throughout the world.

“Having visited St Ninians, we believe that this is an ideal place to put the much-desired memorial and it is especially relevant as a location given the major role that Fife played in pursuing those accused of witchcraft.”

A registered charity, RAWS aims to raise awareness of the 4,000 individuals accused of witchcraft by the church and state in Scotland between the 16th and 18th centuries and to campaign for a national memorial to be erected in Scotland to remember and pay respect to those accused and killed.

Co-founder Sara Kelly added: “St Ninians is a beautiful site and you can see its immense potential to host such a memorial.

"It fits in very much with our ethos of communities, the environment and that the people who we want to be remembered are in a respectful and beautiful place.

“St Ninians would be the ideal location, it is highly accessible and is somewhere that anyone who is interested could visit on a regular basis.

"Educating the general public and school children as part of this is also very important to us.”

Earlier this month the Scottish Government issued a posthumous apology to the Scots accused of witchcraft and attention has now turned to a suitable memorial.

In January National Pride gave their full backing for it to be built on their site and part of last week's visit was to look at possible locations.

The community interest company have ambitious plans for an eco-therapy wellness and leisure park at St Ninians and Loch Fitty but the site is 976 acres and so would have plenty of room to accommodate a memorial local councillor Kate Stewart said could become a "major tourist attraction" like the Kelpies.

Fellow RAWS trustee, Councillor Mino Manekshaw, and Cllr Alex Campbell also attended the site visit.

Mr Whitlock, from National Pride UK, said: “We were proud to host Remembering the Accused Witches of Scotland and local councillors at St Ninians.

“Before we look to take the next steps on hosting a national memorial for those accused witches, we will seek to engage extensively on the potential design for this.

“As an eco-therapy park accessible to the public, St Ninians Wellness will be a place of nature-based healing and we fully agree with those who have identified it as a fitting location for such a memorial.”

A national memorial would be organised, paid for and installed by the Scottish Government.

He added that the company will soon bring forward proposals to Fife Council for the development of the overall site, which aims to be an ecologically friendly and environmentally sensitive health, wellness and leisure destination.