Next stage of a flood management scheme to focus on improving access and wildlife spotting opportunities

Access is to be improved along with opportunities for getting closure to nature including a new sand martin wall and a viewing platform at a major flood management scheme.

The improvements for the Den of Maidencraig flood management and wetlands project includes nearby cycle paths, other paths, a new pond dipping platform installed, a new viewing platform, and the new sand martin nesting wall.

The scheme, which is one of four around the Den Burn area designed to help save houses and businesses in the neighbourhood and further downstream from being flooded, was completed last August (2018) and was built in an area which was affected by flooding in March 2017. It adds resilience along with the Stronsay Park flooding scheme to protect dozens of properties downstream including at Fountainhall Road.

Through the Sustrans Places for Everyone funding scheme, improvements will be made to the quality of the cycle path infrastructure, making it easier for school children to cycle to school and provide important links between schools (Hazlehead Academy, Fernielea School and Hazlehead School), between community areas (Summerhill, Hazlehead and Sheddocksley), to Woodend General Hospital, off the public highway, to the Den of Maidencraig Local Nature Reserve and to the site as a green space itself.

In the Den of Maidencraig Local Nature Reserve, the paths will be improved and a new pond dipping platform installed. The City Council’s Countryside Ranger Service provides schools the opportunity to discover more about the wildlife in the city and activities such as pond dipping introduce children to the world below the water and the complicated food webs that make this area so interesting.

New additions to the area will include a new viewing platform which will provide an excellent view over the Maidencraig wetland area and a new sand martin nesting wall designed to encourage these summer visitors to nest and provide visitors the chance to watch their progress throughout the nesting season.

The first phase of the Den of Maidencraig scheme, which was carried out by Aberdeen City Council and has BEGIN European funding from Intereg and a contribution from Bancon Homes, created a new route between the Maidencraig housing development and Hazlehead which is a raised path on a safe route to school, reduce the flood risk downstream, and create a new home for nature by forming a wetlands area. As part of the works, the tributary burn coming off the hillside at the Lang Stracht was moved and opened up to improve the habitat for wildlife and provide opportunities for future improvements to the drainage of Lang Stracht.

An Aberdeen City Council spokeswoman said: “The Den of Maidencraig scheme has proved helpful since it opened by holding back water when there’s flooding around the Den Burn.

“In addition to the flooding benefits, it’s been fantastic to see wildlife be attracted to the area as the scheme is designed to do. The new nature-viewing platform, pond dipping platform, and sand martin nesting wall will all complement the area and make it a lot easier for people to view this wonderful wildlife on our doorstep.

“The improved access paths for cycling and walking will also make a difference and we hope more people will use them for leisure as well as for going to school or work.”

The Maidencraig project fits in with other similar flood alleviation, path and environmental schemes in the area, and the work stems from computer modelling carried out after the Den Burn flooded in previous years which pinpointed several areas which could be used to capture the extra water and hold it safely.

People can comment on the additional works at Maidencraig in an online survey for the latest stage at https://consultation.aberdeencity.gov.uk/operations/maidencraig-phase-2, available until 5 January, 2020.

Another Aberdeen City Council flooding scheme in the area is Stronsay Park which was built in 2015, and it is designed to flood and store water during storms to protect properties downstream, and also have environmental improvements. Stronsay Park holds more than 30,000m³ of water, which is the equivalent of 80 swimming pools, and was the first of the schemes around the Den Burn to be constructed.

Residents are reminded they can apply for a 50% flood grant funding, up to a maximum of £2,500 designed to help with costs to buy equipment such as flood doors for their properties, and a total of £100 for an initial survey assessment, at https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/services/environment/information-about-flooding/property-level-protection-flood-grant

Picture credit: photo of sand martin wall courtesy of Scottish Wildlife Trust