A regeneration project is underway to develop Haddo Country Park into a thriving country park.
Haddo Estate, Aberdeenshire Council, and The National Trust for Scotland hope to increase visitor numbers and satisfaction levels as a result of the development.
The project will include extensive restoration works to the designed landscape, as well as introducing activities to the park that will bring social, environmental and economic benefits to the area. The Heritage Lottery Fund, Parks for People programme, approved the development proposals in December 2011, and a grant of £1.1 million was awarded.
The Regeneration Project has two main strands these include: projects and activities that will contribute towards the restoration of the physical elements of the park and those that will enhance overall visitor experience.
The regeneration project contains a mix of capital and revenue projects. Capital projects will be completed within a two year programme but many of the revenue activities will be ongoing.
Funding was also ascertained from LEADER, Historic Scotland Aberdeenshire Council, NTS and Haddo Estate. The total cost of the project is £1.9million. Works to the estate are extensive and include the repairing and refurbishment of The Pheasantry, repairs to the statues, as well as improvements to the estates gates, walls and bridges.
Tree surgery to the road and path side trees will be undertaken, as will path improvement works. The signage and seating on the Haddo Estate will be transformed and an impressive themed adventure playground will be constructed.
In a bid to raise the estate’s profits a Visitor Service Officer (VSO) has been employed to act as a link between the partners and park users, and ensure that the project maximises educational and recreational opportunities. The VSO will also strengthen and develop existing and new audiences to the Park. A Visitors Centre has also been established as have volunteering opportunities.
Local communities and user groups have been important to the success of Haddo and have proved essential to the Heritage Lottery Application. Some of these groups and other interested individuals have formed the independent ‘Friends of Haddo’ organisation and will continue to support the project as well as arranging a programme of activities, events and projects.