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Aden Country Park restoration and redevelopment project is completed


By Kyle Ritchie

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Aden Country Park has celebrated the completion of the five-year Aden Restoration and Redevelopment Project with a civic ceremony.

Provost of Aberdeenshire Councillor Judy Whyte commemorated the project’s achievements by officially unveiling the new Bill Cruickshank Visitor Information Centre.

The centre in Mintlaw has been designed to not only be the first port of call for park visitors, but also somewhere to find out about the facilities, a place to pick up leaflets and to learn about Aden’s heritage and its links to farming in the north-east of Scotland.

Provost of Aberdeenshire Judy Whyte cutS the ribbon to formally open the new Bill Cruickshank Visitor Information Centre at Aden Country Park. Also pictured (from left) are Tom Ingrey-Counter of the National Lottery Heritage Fund; Buchan area committee chairwoman Councillor Dianne Beagrie, William Cruickshank and Lorna Stirling, son and daughter of Bill, Council Leader Councillor Gillian Owen and Aden project coordinator Neil Shirran.
Provost of Aberdeenshire Judy Whyte cutS the ribbon to formally open the new Bill Cruickshank Visitor Information Centre at Aden Country Park. Also pictured (from left) are Tom Ingrey-Counter of the National Lottery Heritage Fund; Buchan area committee chairwoman Councillor Dianne Beagrie, William Cruickshank and Lorna Stirling, son and daughter of Bill, Council Leader Councillor Gillian Owen and Aden project coordinator Neil Shirran.

It was named after former local councillor Bill Cruickshank who served as a convenor for Banff and Buchan District Council and who was a prominent farmer in the Buchan area.

Bill spent many enjoyable holidays in Canada, and it was during a visit to a Canadian community-run park, that helped shape the vision for Aden.

Taking what he had learned from his travels, in 1974 Bill persuaded the then council to purchase the dilapidated Aden Estate and allocate 230 acres towards developing Aden as a country park.

He always gave his full support to the park developments and regularly helped with the renovations including the consolidation of the Aden House Mansion and the restoration of the farm steadings.

The new Visitor Information Centre was named after former local councillor Bill Cruickshank who was a prominent farmer in the Buchan area and who helped shape the vision for Aden after being inspired during visits to country parks in Canada.
The new Visitor Information Centre was named after former local councillor Bill Cruickshank who was a prominent farmer in the Buchan area and who helped shape the vision for Aden after being inspired during visits to country parks in Canada.

He was passionate about preserving and celebrating the farming heritage and was also heavily involved in Buchan Development Partnership and the Book of Deer Project, serving as chair for both.

The new Visitor Information Centre has been developed as part of the £2.13 million project supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The funding has also supported the restoration and redevelopment of Aden’s historic buildings, landscape and facilities, including improvements to park interpretation, accessibility, signage and a programme to enhance biodiversity.

The Aden Restoration and Redevelopment Project also attracted funding support from other match funding bodies including the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund, Historic Environment Scotland, private and community organisations and both cash and non-cash contributions from Aberdeenshire Council.

The Bill Cruickshank Visitor Information Centre provides information about the park, activities on offer and its rich history – and people can even milk the cow in the old stable.
The Bill Cruickshank Visitor Information Centre provides information about the park, activities on offer and its rich history – and people can even milk the cow in the old stable.

Provost of Aberdeenshire Councillor Judy Whyte said: “I am delighted to see the unveiling of the new Visitor Information Centre as it marks the completion of the Aden Restoration and Redevelopment Project.

“Over the last five years the project has not only helped to enhance, promote, and conserve Aden’s rich heritage, but has also created a sustainable, high-quality visitor destination for visitors and the local community alike to enjoy.”

Chairwoman of the Buchan area committee, Councillor Dianne Beagrie, said: “Both the local community and the many visitors who flock to the area will be hugely impressed with the new Visitor Information Centre which highlights all the wonderful facilities and attractions Aden Country Park has to offer people of all ages.

“We are so lucky to have this wonderful tourist attraction in the heart of Buchan and the improvements made as part of the Aden Restoration and Redevelopment Project - with the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund – will make it far easier for visitors to see what’s going on at the park.”

The project at Aden Country Park has been completed.
The project at Aden Country Park has been completed.

Commenting on the project completion, Caroline Clark, The National Lottery Heritage Fund director for Scotland, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players we were delighted to support the delivery of the Aden Country Park Restoration and Redevelopment Project, which has been a resounding success.

“We know through research that heritage investment in parks can have widespread community benefits such as reducing loneliness, making nature accessible and even embedding different approaches to local economic wellbeing.

“Investing in benefits for people and community as well as physical improvements is key to delivering long-term change - putting heritage at the core of the Aden Park project has ensured it really is a park for people.”


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