Efforts to revamp a popular north-east country park have taken a step forward after the first part of a £1.5million scheme was put out to tender.
Aden Country Park in Mintlaw was awarded £149,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) earlier this year to preserve boost its cultural and architectural importance.
The funds were added to a £1.4million pot already set aside by Aberdeenshire Council, which is hoping to drum up further grant awards.
Now the local authority has put the first part of the refurbishment scheme – the hiring of environmental consultants – out to tender.
The contract is for work related to “Aden Country Park restoration and redevelopment” following the HLF’s Parks for People award.
Interested parties have until November 11 to bid for the work, which is expected to take place during December.
Last night Linda Bolger from Friends of Aden Country Park said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity to make the park absolutely fantastic.
“Not since 1983 when the museum was opened has this amount of funding been spent on the park.
“There’s a lot of work to be done – some buildings are in a poor state and need to be brought back into use.”
Mrs Bolger said the park is already the most-visited free attraction in Aberdeenshire and that the groups are “delighted” about the new initiative.
She added: “There’s lots to be done – it’s a bright future for the park.”
Friends of Aden Country Park, which aims to safeguard the attraction’s future through volunteer-driven initiatives, said they were keen to get involved.
A spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council – the body which oversees the attraction – confirmed that the project is moving forward.
Later this month the park will host its annual Aden-een Halloween and fireworks celebrations. The event will be held on October 28, from 6.30pm-9pm.
Plans have also lodged for a luxury camping project in the heart of the park.
The Buchan Development Initiative has been handed £30,000 from the Scottish Government to install three “glamping” pods in the Mintlaw park. A planning application has been submitted to the local council.