Park’s £1.25million boost on restoration project

A Scottish country park is to benefit from more than £1million of lottery funding, to restore it to its former glory.

Aden Country Park in Aberdeenshire has been awarded £1.25million by the National Lottery, as part of the Parks for People programme.

The funding will support the major restoration and redevelopment of both Aden’s historic buildings and landscape, along with the creation of a brand-new play area, improvements to park accessibility and signage, as well as supporting a programme to enhance biodiversity.

The ambition of the project is to enhance, promote, and conserve Aden’s rich cultural, architectural, archaeological and natural heritage, creating a sustainable, high-quality visitor destination in rural Aberdeenshire for present and future generations to enjoy.

In addition, it is hoped this investment will encourage as many people as possible get involved with the heritage of Aden Country Park through opportunities for volunteering, community participation, audience development, interpretation, training and learning. The total grant is for £1.25 million.

It is expected that the total project cost will be £2.13 million, with the rest of the funds coming from other grants, from non-cash contributions, volunteer time, developer obligations and investment from Aberdeenshire Council itself. Work is due to start before the end of 2018 and will take five years to complete.

The main strands of the proposed project delivery phase include:

A range of improvements to visitor facilities, including improved access, upgraded courtyard, path works, the opening up of the ground floor of the Coach House to develop an interactive interpretation, education and activity area, along with the creation of wildlife and farming heritage trails;

Improvements to the biodiversity of habitats for plants and wildlife including works to the Mill Pond, new planting, the control of invasive species and woodland management;

The development of environmental, archaeological and heritage-related volunteer and learning opportunities;

A new adventure play area aimed at children of all ages and abilities;

The creation of outdoor learning classrooms with a new pond dipping platform, wildlife shelter, and nature trails;

The uncovering, recording, and interpretation of a series of significant archaeological sites including a Bronze Age settlement, lost Keith Tower, Mansion House, Stone Circle and WW1 trenches;

Formal learning programmes and resources developed for schools to complement the curriculum for excellence;

The stabilisation of the Gardener’s Cottage and the repurposing of the Grieve’s House to create new enterprises and new income sources in the future;

The conservation of Aden’s designed landscape including the restoration of structures such as the three historic lodges, features and planting along with the stabilisation of at risk buildings;

The development of a wide range of interpretation e.g. interpretation centre, smartphone app, films, website, leaflets and panels, to encourage visitors to engage with Aden’s natural, built, cultural and archaeological heritage;

The delivery of a wide range of heritage related events and activities aimed at a wide range of audiences.

Chair of the Buchan Area Committee Councillor Norman Smith said: ‘Aden is a wonderful asset, not only to the communities of Mintlaw, Peterhead and the Buchan area but to the rest of Aberdeenshire. It is a significant attraction, which will be made even better with the news of this National Lottery funding.

‘This is something which is very welcome and I would like to give my thanks to the staff from the Buchan Development Partnership, and to the Friends of Aden, for their work and support to secure this funding.’

Lucy Casot, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: ‘Aden Country Park is enjoyed by all ages as a place to relax and reconnect with nature away from the pressures of daily life. As Love Parks Week begins, we’re delighted that, thanks to players of the National Lottery, we are able to protect this precious green space aking a difference to the quality of life for the people of Aberdeenshire.’

Aden Country Park is located in Mintlaw and is a 230 acre site which is home to the Aberdeenshire Farming Museum, forest walks and a spectacular ruined country house. The farming museum is contained in a 19th century steading. Aden is owned and managed by Aberdeenshire Council.