Two city parks nominated in national competition

Two Aberdeen parks which sit alongside the city's two rivers are in the running for the UK's Best Park competition.

Duthie and Seaton Parks have been put forward by members of the public for the new award by national charity Fields in Trust.

Aberdeen City Council Communities, Housing and Infrastructure vice-convener Councillor Jean Morrison said: "This is a fantastic accolade and the fact two of our six formal parks in the city have been put forward by a member of the public shows how highly regarded they are by the people who use them.

"The award nomination and is a tribute not only to our parks teams who keep them looking great with a range of facilities for all age ranges, but also to the Friends groups and volunteers which put so much hard work and effort throughout the city.

"We look forward to the competition and encourage everyone who uses our parks to vote for Duthie or Seaton."

Duthie Park comprises of 44 acres situated beside the River Dee within easy walking, cycling and bus journey of the city centre. The 134-year-old park had a £5 million refurbishment and re-opened in 2013, with funding provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Aberdeen City Council.

It has the biggest range of facilities of all the city's parks including water features, playparks, Japanese Garden, and year-round facilities in the Winter Gardens and café.. It also has great walks around, and from the park, such as Old Deeside Railway Line and the River Dee.

Seaton Park has 27 hectares with formal beds, a walled garden, mature deciduous trees, open green spaces and a children's play park. It features Cathedral Walk which is a stunning floral display that leads the eye and the walker to nearby St Machar Cathedral.

The walled garden is a hidden gem providing a secluded sheltered spot to show off an array of beautiful flowers and plants.

The meandering River Don provides a natural boundary at the west of Seaton park, with a lovely riverside walk which links the park to the historic Brig o' Balgownieand beyond to the North Sea.

The Fields in Trust's annual awards ceremony in December celebrates the great work being done in parks and playgrounds across the UK. The awards vote follows a survey carried out on behalf of the charity which shows almost half of people say using their local park helps them to feel healthier (48%), with 70% of 16 to 24 year olds also feeling less stressed as a result of having access to green space. Almost a quarter of people (24%) use their local park at least twice a week.

Fields in Trust chief executive Helen Griffiths said:"Our research shows that the nation's parks and green spaces are places to enjoy life experiences, with many of those surveyed saying that's where they taught their grandchildren to cycle, had their first kiss or reached a personal sporting milestone. Some people have even experienced or witnessed a marriage proposal!

"Our awards help recognise the role that our parks play in our communities, bringing people together and creating a safe outdoor environment that everyone should be entitled to. As Fields in Trust celebrates its 90th year we invite all park users to vote for their favourite green space."

Fields in Trust is a national charity that operates throughout the UK to safeguard recreational spaces and campaign for better statutory protection for all kinds of outdoor sites. Founded in 1925 as the National Playing Fields Association by King George V, its mission is the same now and as it was then - to ensure that everyone, whether young or old, able-bodied or disabled and wherever they live, should have access to free, local outdoor space for sport, play and recreation.

The charity safeguards more than 2,500 sites which is a total of 28,000 acres of land including playgrounds, playing fields, and formal and informal parkland across the UK.

People wanting to vote for Duthie or Seaton can do so on the website www.fieldsintrust.org/bestpark/nominations