Essential tree maintenance to help breathe new life into Hazlehead Park

Essential tree maintenance work is poised to get under way at Aberdeen City Council’s Hazlehead Park to help breathe new life into the historic attraction.

Some trees will be felled and others replanted in the park, which at 180 acres is the largest in Aberdeen and is one of the oldest and historical properties of the city with connections through Robert the Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots and the Queen Mother.

Other trees will be replanted to the arboretum at Hazlehead, and the work is due to start on 18 April.

Many of the trees to be removed are either overgrown shrubs or self-seeded trees which were never part of the original design. The problem with some of the mature trees is that many are of a similar age and subsequently will be dying at about the same time.

A Tree Survey Report carried out on the park found that some trees are heavily suppressed by their neighbours and there are groups of tress which could benefit from selective thinning. The report also found that in some cases trees have undue competition with other groups and will therefore fail to develop adequately.

There will be a future planting programme to introduce a wider age range to the tree stock in the park and to develop a long-term strategy for tree maintenance to take the park into the next century.

Aberdeen City Council Communities, Housing and Infrastructure vice convener Councillor Jean Morrison said: “Hazlehead Park is close to the hearts of all Aberdonians and known across the world, so it is good that we have a chance to make a difference to the tree population.

“The park is becoming even more popular with residents and visitors alike due to its wide range of attractions along with fantastic walks and around the park and in neighbouring woods.

“The park is also within walking distance or a short bike ride for people living in the west end of the city, can be reached by bus from the city centre, and there’s also ample parking so there’s no excuse why people shouldn’t go there and discover its attractions.”

Hazlehead Park is a Red Squirrel Conservation Area and has a wide range of family-friendly facilities including playparks, a café, a maze, Pets’ Corner and has a calendar of year-round events such as Aberdeen Highland Games. It also has a famous Queen Mother Rose Garden, and the Piper Alpha Memorial Garden.

Friends of Hazlehead Chairman Donald Shaw said: “The Friends of Hazlehead group has been working closely with the Parks and Countryside Team within Aberdeen City Council to invest in the regeneration of Hazlehead Park.

"The tree and shrub bed maintenance in Hazlehead Park has been on our prioritised agenda for some time and it’s great to see the start of this campaign to help redevelop and future-proof this wonderful green space.”

The charity aims to promote and encourage individuals, families, clubs, societies and charities within the community to actively use the open space of Hazlehead for health and lifestyle and invests extensively in these infrastructure improvement projects and further attractions. Over the past three years, the Friends of Hazlehead group has raised and attracted in the region of £500,000 to reinvest in the park with some major projects coming to fruition in 2016, including the expansive refurbishment of the Queen Mother Rose Garden.