Sections of the ancient City Walls could soon be "propped up" after fears over loose rocks falling on tourists and "moving" steps forced the council to close two entrances.

Tourists flocking to Chester during the summer holidays will be unable to access two of the city's most famous Roman sites from the Groves after the council closed entrances to the Walls and the Roman Gardens due to safety fears.

A recent inspection found areas of loose rock on the outcrop, hanging below the Walls, directly above the path which tourists and visitors walk along as they explore the ancient artifacts in the Roman Gardens.

The closure comes just five months after the new feature gateway to the gardens was opened to the public in February after being closed for a number of months due to fears over its stability.

The Recorder Steps near the Old Dee Bridge have also been closed off to the public after an inspection highlighted "recent movement", says Cheshire West and Chester Council.

City Walls entrance from the Groves to the Roman Gardens is closed
 

Now the council are considering ways to salvage the entrances to the historic landmark, with one possibility being "propping up" the steps until the damage can be permanently repaired.

3D scans have been carried out at both sites to hep engineers and the council to understand the extent of the damage and what can be done to repair it, CWaC said.

It is not clear when the entrances will reopen, but the Roman Gardens and the City Walls can be accessed from other entrances around the city.

Council spokesman, Shirley Wingfield, said: “The Groves entrance to the Roman Gardens has been closed as a safety precaution after a recent inspection highlighted areas of loose rock on the outcrop, below the City Walls, immediately above the path into the Roman Gardens. The closure does not affect the City Walls.

“The Recorder Steps have also been closed as a safety precaution after a recent inspection highlighted signs of recent movement.

“A 3D laser scan has been undertaken on both sites. At the Roman Gardens this has been used to create drawings of the rock outcrop and at the steps the survey has been undertaken and drawings of the staircase have been produced from this scan. These drawings have been used by a geotechnical engineer who has recently undertaken a survey of the rock outcrop. We are currently awaiting a report to confirm the condition of this section.

“The drawings for the steps will be used by the council’s term highways contractor to provide a propping system to support the steps in order to allow the staircase to be re-opened until a permanent repair can be arranged.

“Once we have the reports we will then be able to choose the most appropriate method of repair to secure the re-opening of both sites. Until we know the scale of the repairs we cannot indicate the duration of the works."

Part of the City Walls closed off on The Groves
 

In 2012 parts of the City Walls were closed to the public as the council made essential repairs as part of Portico co-operative European Project, which saw viewing platforms installed at King Charles Tower, the Roodee and Morgan’s Mount.

The council earmarks £600,000 a year for the upkeep of the Walls, and say that since 2009 they have spent £3M repairing and maintaining the world renowned landmark.