£149,500 Heritage Lottery Fund boost starts journey towards £1.4million Aden Country Park project

Aberdeenshire Council is to receive £149,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) towards an ambitious £1.4million restoration and redevelopment project for the popular Aden Country Park in Mintlaw.

The regeneration project aims to both enhance and conserve the attraction’s rich cultural, architectural, archaeological and natural heritage, while restoring it as a prime visitor destination in rural Aberdeenshire.

The development funding of £149,500 has been awarded from the first round HLF Parks for People funding programme* and will help the council progress plans to apply for a second round, full grant of £1,399,500, at a later date.

Aden Country Park was purchased by the council’s predecessors in the 1970s, at which time it renovated listed buildings, interpreted the outstanding agricultural history of the area, and opened it for the public to enjoy.

Forty years later, this project aims to improve the visitor experience, expand and increase opportunities for learning and biodiversity, while protecting and recording unexplored aspects of the park – including a Bronze Age settlement and stone circle.

Plans will also be developed to upgrade the existing children’s play area, create a new interpretation centre and outdoor learning classrooms, and examine how significant buildings at risk of dilapidation will be restored to create new enterprises which will help sustain the park in to the future.

The project will also have a key focus on visitor engagement and the development of volunteering and learning opportunities at the park.

Welcoming the funding, Buchan Area Committee chair Cllr Stuart Pratt said: “We’re delighted the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support.

“Aden Country Park is an important resource for both the local community and visitors to the area, and it’s great to know that we are a step closer to preserving the park for future generations to enjoy.”

Committee vice-chair Cllr Lenny Pirie added: “Public parks such as Aden have immense value and benefits to people of all ages.

“Aside from the economic value and the positive impact on physical and mental health, there are also social, biodiversity and nature benefits that will be enhanced through the Heritage Lottery funding support.”    

The success of the restoration and redevelopment project has been made possible through a partnership approach between Aberdeenshire Council’s Buchan area office, and the authority’s landscape, cultural, ranger and archaeological services, coupled with community partners including Buchan Development Partnership and the Friends of Aden Country Park.  

Chairman of the Friends of Aden Country Park, Ian Bosbery, said: “We are delighted with the success of the application and look forward to the coming few years which we hope will see the park develop into the premier visitor attraction in the north-east.

“We are keen to play our part in the work to bring about the next phase of the project, which calls for significant volunteer involvement, and would encourage anyone willing to get involved to join us in undertaking the work.”

Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “A wonderful legacy from our ancestors, public parks are increasingly under threat which makes this investment of National Lottery players’ money even more vital.

“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 to show our initial support to protecting this precious green space making a difference to the quality of life for the people of Aberdeenshire.”

Further information about Aden Country Park can be found at www.adencountrypark.org.uk