Advice and Support

Monument Monitor

Monument Monitor is a ground-breaking citizen science project that uses your photographs of heritage sites to help inform their condition monitoring and conservation.

A lady wearing a rucksack takes a photo of remote standing stones for Monument Monitor using a smartphone

We have over 300 properties in our care and, whilst our conservation teams undertake routine maintenance visits, we can’t be at all of them at once. However, historic properties are popular tourist attractions and visitors are frequently snapping and sharing pictures of their visit.

This is where Monument Monitor steps in. At several different sites around the country we have put signs up that ask visitors to send in their snaps enabling our team to keep tabs on them remotely.

To what extent can we ‘crowdsource conservation’ 

Monument Monitor is the product of a PhD research project by Rosie Brigham in collaboration with the Institute for Sustainable Heritage, UCL. It has been running since 2018 and has helped the team with some great discoveries.

Using your pictures we have been able to model how climate change will affect flooding at Machrie Moor Standing Stone Circles, as well as measure the impact of increased visitor footfall at Clava Cairns. In addition, we have been able to create machine learning models to automatically identify areas of high-level plant growth at Bothwell Castle. Alongside this, visitors’ images have been very beneficial in helping monitor other types of incidents, such as littering, vandalism and even rabbit damage!

Where can I get involved?

At the participating sites, specific signs will illustrate what we are monitoring and what we would like photos of. Our sites including a healthy mix of castles, Neolithic monuments, churches and Iron Age forts.

Send your images to mm@hes.scot. Find out more about how we will use your images, including copyright.

Aberdour Castle

We are monitoring Aberdour Castle for instances of littering and anti-social behaviour to help us understand the issues posed at the site so that we can better care for it. This is in line with our Litter Prevention Plan.

Achnabreck Rock Art

At Achnabreck we are monitoring moss and lichen growth over the rockface. We want to understand more about how biological growth like this can protect the Neolithic rock art from the elements.

Antonine Wall - Rough Castle

We are monitoring the effects of increased levels of rainfall around Rough Castle. As the climate changes in Scotland, we are seeing increased precipitation in some areas. We want to ensure that this will not impact the conservation of the historic landscape.

Baluachraig Rock Art

At Baluachraig we are monitoring moss and lichen and grass growth over the exposed rockface. This will help us plan for routine maintenance and improve our understanding of how some biological growth can protect the Neolithic carvings

Carn Ban Long Cairn

Submissions from Carn Ban will be used to observe any changes in plant growth across the cairn, alongside estimating the number of visitors per year.

Castle Semple Collegiate Church

At Castle Semple we are monition the infill masonry of the three mullioned windows at the apse of the church. We want to ensure that the masonry is stable, track plant growth and monitor any bat roosts within it.

Clava Cairns

We are monitoring erosion in and around the site. Clava Cairns has been very popular with tourists since the production of the Outlander series and we want to ensure that this is not to the detriment of the ancient site.

Doune Castle

We want to monitor the bank at the rear of Doune Castle for changes in biodiversity and the landscape.

Drumtroddan Cup and Ring Marked Rocks

At Drumtroddan Cup and Ring Marked Rocks we are monitoring the growth of moss and lichen across the outcrops. We want to understand more about how biological growth like this can protect the Neolithic rock art from the elements.

Drumtroddan Standing Stones

At Drumtroddan Standing Stones we are closely monitoring the two recumbent stones for the effect of water pooling. We want to ensure that increased levels of water will not cause damage to these ancient structures.

Holyrood Park

We are collecting images of eroded paths around Holyrood Park to help our rangers keep the park looking it’s best.

Kelso Abbey

We are monitoring erosion of the façade at Kelso Abbey, as well as any examples of high level masonry that may have fallen to the ground. 

Kilwinning Abbey

We are monitoring Kilwinning Abbey for instances of littering and anti-social behaviour to help us understand the issues posed at the site so that we can better care for it. This is in line with our Litter Prevention Plan.

Lincluden Collegiate Church 

We are monitoring Lincluden Collegiate Church for changes in biodiversity, specifically looking for examples of Himalayan Balsam, an invasive species with a striking pink flower. Alongside this, we are also asking visitors to report any instances of anti-social behaviour such as littering.

Loch Doon Castle

Loch Doon Castle is a designated dark sky spot and is a popular spot for campers. Unfortunately, some visitors have started open fires within the castle damaging the structure alongside leaving litter and camping equipment. We are monitoring these occurrences closely to ensure the site is well cared for everyone.

Machrie Moor Standing Stones

At Machrie Moor we are monitoring ground water flooding in and around the Neolithic stone circles.

Maiden Stone

At the Maiden Stone we want to understand how the Pictish carvings look in different light conditions. Sometimes the artwork is very hard to see, but when you get it just right these carvings are dazzling!

Mavisbank Policies

We are monitoring Mavisbank Policies for long term changes in the landscape and biodiversity across the park.

Ness of Burgi

At Ness of Burgi we are monitoring the peat caps which help to consolidate this drystone Iron Age structure. The site is very exposed and is often eroded by the force of the wind and rain.

Ravenscraig Castle

We are monitoring Ravenscraig Castle for instances of littering and anti-social behaviour to help us understand the issues posed at the site so that we can better care for it. This is in line with our Litter Prevention Plan.

Ring of Brodgar

We are monitoring the effects of climate change at Ring of Brodgar and want to capture images that record how well the site can drain after increasing incidences of extreme weather.

St Blane's Church

At St Blane's we are monitoring the peat caps of the vallum walls. These caps are crucial to consolidating the structures but they can sometimes be worn away by cattle. Your pictures let us know where the walls may need an extra bit of attention.

St Bridget's Kirk

We are monitoring St Bridget’s Kirk for instances of littering and anti-social behaviour to help us understand the issues posed at the site so that we can better care for it. This is in line with our Litter Prevention Plan.

St Mary's Church, Grandtully

At St Mary’s Church we are collecting images of the beautiful painted ceiling. This will provide our paintings conservators clear examples of how the painted panels appear over time.

Tarves Tomb

At Tarves Tomb, or the Tolquon Tomb, we are monitoring changing levels of damp within the effigy niche. It’s important to study these over the course of several years to understand where weakness may develop within the structure so preventative measures can be taken.

Tealing Soutterain (Earth House)

At Tealing, we are monitoring erosion at either end of the soutterain as well as the effects of damp, salt formation on the stones, and the impact of a family of rabbits.

The small print

Find out how we use your personal data in our Privacy Policy.

Find out more about the project set up and how we use your images, including the copyright license which you give to us.

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