Pupils give their seal of approval for new Aden playpark

A youngster tries out the new slide at Aden Country Park watched by councillors, council staff and project representatives
A youngster tries out the new slide at Aden Country Park watched by councillors, council staff and project representatives

Primary schools pupils from Mintlaw were the first to get their hands on a fantastic new £250,000 playpark which has opened in the village.

The colourful facility at Aden Country Park in Mintlaw enjoyed a ‘soft’ summer opening today (Wednesday) and will be formally opened once completed in September.

Buchan councillors Norman Smith, Anne Simpson and Jim Ingram have welcomed the significant investment at the Mintlaw park

Buchan councillors Norman Smith, Anne Simpson and Jim Ingram have welcomed the significant investment at the Mintlaw park

After the unveiling by the chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Buchan Area Committee, Councillor Norman Smith, youngsters from Mintlaw and Pitfour primary schools tested out the range of play equipment which feature a double zip slide, basket swing, carousel, springers, seesaw, sand diggers, farmer’s den and jeep and petrol station.

Most of the installed equipment is disabled accessible and aimed at children of all ages, with additional wheelchair-accessible and other play items including a ‘mansion house’ being installed later in the year.

The new play area has been developed as part of the £2.13 million Aden Country Park project supporting the major restoration and redevelopment of both Aden’s historic buildings and landscape and improving park facilities such as the creation of the children’s play area.

Improvements will also be made to park interpretation, accessibility and signage, and a programme to enhance biodiversity.

Primary pupils from Mintlaw and Pitfour schools join councillors at the launch of the playpark at Aden

Primary pupils from Mintlaw and Pitfour schools join councillors at the launch of the playpark at Aden

In June of 2018 it was announced that Aden Country Park had been awarded £1.25 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) with the rest of the funds coming from non-cash contributions, volunteer time, developer obligations and funding support from a range of partners, including major investment from Aberdeenshire Council itself.

Councillor Norman Smith said the playpark marked a “huge investment” in the area and praised Aden project coordinator Neil Shirran and landscape services officer Jack Grant and their teams for getting the facility to this stage.

He said: “The opening of the new play area marks the completion of the first strand of the wider Aden project.

“It’s a real boost for the park and I’m sure the play area will prove to be a very popular attraction for visitors and the local community alike.

Councillor Norman Smith, chair of the council's local area committee, described Aden Country Park as "a jewel in the heart of Buchan"

Councillor Norman Smith, chair of the council's local area committee, described Aden Country Park as "a jewel in the heart of Buchan"

“Aden Country Park is a jewel in the heart of Buchan and this is the just the first block in a big project which will happen over the next couple of years.”

Sarah Forrest, headteacher of Mintlaw Primary, said she was “absolutely delighted” to have this facility on the school’s doorstep.

She said: “We have spoken to a lot of the parents in the lead-up to coming here today and they are just so excited as well.

“When the children came round the corner and saw the playpark their eyes just lit up and they are just delighted. There are just so many different experiences for them here it’s just tremendous for them.”

She also welcomed the inclusion of the disabled-accessible equipment in the community park, commenting: “Having a lot of this play equipment accessible for many of our youngsters will make a huge difference to our local community and the schools that can access it as well.”