A NATIONAL memorial at Kelty to commemorate the thousands of Scots who were killed for being a witch could become a "major visitor attraction".

And National Pride, who bought the former St Ninians coal mine earlier this year, have offered their "full support" to a suggestion to build it on their land.

A campaign for a legal pardon, apology and national memorial for the 4,000 people, mostly women, who were accused of witchcraft between the 16th and 18th centuries, with many convicted and executed, looks likely to be successful in the New Year.

West Fife Villages councillor Kate Stewart, who backed the campaign by the Witches of Scotland group, said a national memorial could become a huge visitor attraction like the Kelpies in Falkirk.

She said: "The issue is finding the right spot.

"We've looked at locations around Torryburn and Culross but there isn't available land to host a national memorial, especially if you want to have some development round it.

"When you see the Kelpies and what could be achieved, it could have shops, walking routes, maybe a sensory garden – I'm sure other people will have better ideas!

"There's worldwide interest and if you keep it in Fife, a national memorial has the potential to be a major visitor attraction.

"Any other area in Scotland could do it if we don't get in first!"

National Pride, a community interest company, now owns 976 acres of land at St Ninians, Loch Fitty and Thornton Wood and aim to develop a world-class eco-therapy wellness and leisure park there.

Irene Bisset, chair of National Pride UK, told the Press: “We are aware of the ongoing campaign for a national memorial for the recognition of the persecution and torment suffered by so many accused of witchcraft in Scotland in times past.

"It would be fitting that the St Ninians site, now to be a place of reflection and rejuvenation, should be a place to host such a memorial and we offer our full support to the campaign."

A national memorial would be organised, paid for and installed by the Scottish Government but could still be some way off.

While the campaign is expected to get cross-party support, legislation will have to go through the Scottish Parliament before they can achieve their aims.

Cllr Stewart continued: "There are a few private memorials already, such as Orkney and Prestonpans, but a national memorial would need to be some size if you're going to record the names of 4,000 people on it.

"We'd need a fair bit of land and I thought about St Ninians.

"For me, it would be an ideal site as it's on the motorway, next to junction 4 of the M90, and on the route between the Highlands and the capital.

"It sits quite high up, looking over the Forth, so it has good viewpoints."

She said the site was actually in her ward and added: "Some of the people executed as witches were probably midwives, herbalists and healers, that's why suspicion fell upon them and they were targeted.

"They were probably among the first 'medical' people so there's a tie-in with the Kelty site as it's going to be a place of health and wellbeing."

Andy Whitlock, technical director of National Pride UK, said: “A memorial at St Ninians would allow visitors to find out more about those who were brutally tormented and who lost their lives through ignorance and fear.

"Such a national memorial should be a place of education so that such things can never happen again.

"We will open a webpage on stninianswellness.com for anyone to suggest ideas.”

Claire Mitchell QC, from the Witches of Scotland group, said: "There are so many places that will lay claim to it but I would be absolutely delighted to see a national memorial anywhere.

"If you have a memorial then people will remember as it's a physical talking point."