Aberdeen City Council is extending naturalised greenspace management by improving and creating blue/green habitats in two high profile parks in the city. In Aberdeen Flagship Parks for Pollinators, Duthie Park beside the River Dee and Seaton Park on the River Don have been chosen to show this approach can benefit both people and wildlife.  The parks also serve more deprived areas of the city, include extensive areas of traditional horticultural layouts, and are heavily used.

More about the parks...

Duthie Park (18 hectares) beside the River Dee in South Aberdeen is a Heritage Park on Heritage Environment Scotland’s Inventory for Gardens and Designed Landscapes.

The Heritage approach is used in maintenance, with traditional horticultural practises and formal planting.  The Park is next to the River Dee Special Area of Conservation.

Duthie Park is heavily used and a popular event venue, for example as the site of the first Grampian Pride where on 27 May the 20th Pride was also celebrated. Other current events include mass singing on 1 June involving 2500 children – the Aberdeen Big Sing - and the European Pipe Band Championships on 24 June.

Seaton Park – (27 hectares) is in the Old Aberdeen Conservation Area in north Aberdeen.  The Park won a popular vote award organised by Fields in Trust for Favourite Park in Scotland in 2022 and contains both formal gardens and wilder areas. The Park is also a target for forthcoming active travel investment. A Seaton Park Virtual Tour by the University of Aberdeen is on You Tube here:

Both Parks have very active Friends Groups, with approximately 4300 and 2000 Facebook followers respectively - Friends of Duthie Park and Seaton Park Friends.

The Friends groups are involved in fun days, fund raising and gardening as well as support for nature in the park.

What is the project doing, how is it funded and how does it relate to other work?

The Council is using a Nature Restoration in Parks grant from the Scottish Government to survey, plan and design work to further improve the parks for nature. As wetlands and ponds provide a valuable habitat for a range of species, these are being included, in addition to creating/improving wildflower meadow areas for pollinators and tree planting.

Aberdeen Flagship Parks for Pollinators also supports longer term 'B-lines' pollinator work between Aberdeen City Council and the charity Buglife. This includes naturalisation of grasslands in ways that reconcile with people's actual use. There is a longer article on that topic including a commentary by Steven Shaw, Aberdeen City’s Environmental Services Manager, in ‘Aberdeen’s natural progress’ (31 Aug 2022) on the Scottish pollinators blog.

‘Quick win’ actions in Aberdeen Flagship Parks for Pollinators are creating and restoring habitats through planting native wildflowers and native trees, and a change to a naturalised meadow management regime.

Project funding totals £37,000, of which £31,000 is on action planning for the long term, and £6,000 on the ‘Quick wins’.

The Nature Recovery in Parks grant scheme was put together by greenspace scotland for Scottish Government and uses part of the Scottish allocation of the UK Government’s Levelling Up Parks fund from 2022-23.

On this point, local neighbourhoods for Aberdeen’s project experiencing multiple deprivation include Seaton, Tillydrone, Woodside, Middlefield and Cumming Park, served by Seaton Park, and Kincorth and Torry, served by Duthie Park. According to the 2020 Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, Seaton is in the most deprived 10% and Tillydrone is in the most deprived 20% datazones. Parts of Torry are in the 10% and 20% most deprived areas.

What are current project activities and outputs?

The Aberdeen Flagship Parks for Pollinators project is collating baseline data to understand the habitats and species currently in the parks.  Action plans are being written to allow works which aim to improve and manage habitats, and form a platform for the Aberdeen B-lines project with Bug Life Scotland B-Lines Scotland - Buglife

Specific activities within Aberdeen Flagship Parks for Pollinators include:

  • Ecological surveys 
  • Landform surveys to inform drainage and future management
  • Planting for pollinators 
  • Tree planting at Duthie Park
  • Education, events and community engagement are involving the council Parks Rangers, Buglife Scotland and volunteers including from Butterfly Conservation and the North East Scotland Biological Records Database.

Education, events and community engagement are involving the council Parks Rangers, Buglife Scotland and volunteers including from Butterfly Conservation and the North East Scotland Biological Records Database.

Two ‘Bio-blitz’ community engagement events in Duthie and Seaton parks include interactive activities for kids, grown-ups, beginners, and experts alike.

The first event at Seaton Park was on Saturday 27 May 2023, with a Rangers service Facebook post about their findings here Aberdeen City Council Countryside Ranger Service.  Insects found and on show included a Green veined White butterfly, a Poplar Hawkmoth, Pepper Moth, Icumen (parasitic ) wasps, an Early mining bee, a 10 spot ladybird and a Caddisfly.

The ‘Bio-blitz’ event at Duthie Park is on Saturday 17 June 2023, from 11am to 3pm.


The Aberdeen Flagship Parks for Pollinators project is showing how additional non-capital or revenue funding for local authorities can extend and accelerate nature restoration work in multiuse parks. It shows the potential to connect this work with other, related projects and park purposes in a holistic way, for the benefit of nature and for people.

Related links and information

Aberdeen Flagship Parks for Pollinators is one of 11 projects supported by greenspace scotland with funding from the Scottish Government/UK Government Levelling Up Parks programme. Details of all funded projects here

Trail leaflets for Duthie and Seaton Parks (March 2023)

Photo credits and thanks: staff of Aberdeen City Council, and Alison Mackenzie and bellerina12, both via Twitter, for photos of Seaton Park and Duthie Park respectively.