About Us

26 September 2016

Site access at Maeshowe statement

Our updated statement on access to Maeshowe Chambered Cairn.

Maeshowe interior, showing the small doorway

Update on access to Maeshowe Chambered Cairn


The HES Board recently considered a development proposal which looked at the site infrastructure at Maeshowe Chambered Cairn and Tormiston Mill. They wished to discuss the project further with Orkney Islands Council.

This was a catalyst for us to re-assess the risks associated with the site, and in consequence we decided to temporarily close the site until the identified risks could be mitigated to a satisfactory level.

Current Position

Since the decision was taken to pause current access arrangements at the site, we have been working hard to secure an interim solution to allow visitors to continue to access to Maeshowe.

As such, Maeshowe Chambered Cairn will re-open on 29 September 2016 with access via a new shuttle bus service from Skara Brae. There will be three tours operating per day at 10am, 12pm and 2pm, which will provide visitors with a journey through the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site.

The visitor centre and car park at Tormiston Mill will remain closed to the public, with Historic Environment Scotland staff on site to assist with the installation of new safety measures, including barriers and road signage.

For more information please read our recent news release.

Continued commitment

We remain committed to helping protect and promote the history and heritage of Orkney and we will work closely with all partners to ensure that we are able to provide a safe and enjoyable visitor experience at this unique site for the future.

About us

On 1 October 2015, Historic Scotland and RCAHMS came together to form a new lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. The new body Historic Environment Scotland (HES) will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.

Find out more about us.


If you have any questions please contact the Communications Team.