Wetlands project officially opened today

The £90,000 Seaton Wetlands Project which has turned a former floodlands into a feature which will be filled with wildflowers was officially opened today.

Volunteers and members of Friends of Seaton Park turned out to help put the finishing planting touches to the new wetlands while Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing officially opened it.

The wetlands is in Seaton Park and was created after the area had been badly flooded and rendered unusable. So it was decided to embrace the changes as large parts of the park had originally been a swamp-like area before it was turned into a grassed area.

A man-made wetland surrounded by natural plants and a wooden viewing point was created which will enhance the natural biodiversity, attract more wildlife to the space, and encourage greater community use.

The works at the park included digging out the wetland, repairing drainage, and adding paths, signage and planting.

Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said “This is a wonderful project and I’m very happy to be officially opening it.

“Seaton Park is already a popular place to go for people to relax in or take part in sporting activities, so having the wetlands area here will be a big draw for families and wildlife watchers.

“The volunteers here today are helping to add a splash of colour when the plants and wildflowers are fully grown and will add to the already large and varied birds, animals and plants which can be spotted in this beautiful green park.”

Aberdeen City Council led the Seaton Park Wetlands Project in partnership with community group Friends of Seaton Parks. , There was also a paths improvements project which was running at the same time as the wetland project.

Friends of Seaton Park chairwoman Sheila Gordon said: “It's wonderful to see this project finally come together as it seems a long time since surveys were done of the flooded area and opinions asked as to what would be best to do.

“It’s great to see the final touches being put to the project with so many volunteers come to help with the last of the planting and we’re looking forward to the greater diversity of plants and animals which this project will bring to the park - having such an attraction in the park will further enhance what is already a popular place to visit.”

Two paths have been constructed as part of the paths improvements project including the east path which is behind the rugby pitch and is 560m in length, and the west path which links to the boardwalk heading towards Donside Village and is 295m in length and required the slope being re-profiled as it was too steep for many user groups.

As well as funding from Aberdeen City Council, some of the funding came from Aberdeen Greenspace, and sustainable transport charity Sustrans. The combined total for both projects at Seaton Park is estimated to be £200,000.

John Lauder, National Director of Sustrans Scotland, said: “We are delighted to have provided Community Links Funding for the upgrade of the two key paths connecting Seaton Park into the Donside Active Travel Corridor.

“The new links will help to encourage people and families to get out and travel on foot or by bike for short everyday trips and for leisure and recreation.”

The work started at the wetlands project in March, and last month, (June) contractors working at the site dug up a glacial rock believed to be thousands of years old and a tree trunk buried under layers of silt and eventually grassed over.

The rock was dug up near the sports pitch area and is believed to have been washed down during the ice age – it is a glacial erratic, a piece of rock that differs from the size and type of rock native to the area in which it rests.

The large tree trunk, which was also found beneath the pitch, is believed to have been deposited in the spot it was found when Seaton Park was actually still part of the River Don. The contractors have asked a university expert to look at a sample of the tree and try and work out what species it is and determine how old it is.

The Seaton Park Wetland Project was inspired by the success of the East Tullos Burn Environment Improvements Project at St Fittick’s Park, where flooding was alleviated with the inclusion of wetlands to manage water levels from the burn, as well as improved access and increased biodiversity.