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Nature & Wildlife

Part of Aden’s charm is its balance between informal woodland, managed parkland, rhododendron-lined paths, Victorian arboretum, wildflower meadows, and secluded gardens. This varied landscape contributes to Aden’s unique mix of biodiversity and wildlife.

Duck at Aden

Animals & Wildlife

With its diversity of habitats, whether wild or more formal, Aden is home to a great variety of animals and wildlife throughout the year. From the resident, but secretive roe deer, to summer migrants that have even included osprey. 

Of course, what you might see depends on what time of year you are here, the time of day and even how quiet and patient you are. Mammals spotted in Aden include rabbits; water shrew; fox; otters, roe deer, and let us not forget bats, the only mammal that can fly! Signs of the presence of mammals in Aden include prints, droppings, homes and feeding.  

As well as mammals, Aden attracts masses of different birdlife, including Heron, Osprey (flying overhead in summer), Goldcrest (our smallest bird), Woodpeckers (often heard rather than seen), Buzzard; Chaffinch, Wren, Tree creeper, Dipper; Blue tit, Great tit, Crows (have learned to check you’ve left no crumbs after your picnic!), Mallards, Moorhen, Siskin, Black headed gulls, Oystercatcher, Pink footed geese (flying over during the winter months), Blackbirds, Thrush, Greenfinch, and if you’re lucky, Kingfisher by the lake.  

Other wildlife to watch out for include a wide variety of insects and amphibians, such as: frogs, toads, butterflies, spiders, dragonflies, slugs, snails, water boatmen, woodlouse, shield bugs, lace wings, caterpillars, beetles, bees, to name but a few.  

Cows, sheep, and chickens are other, less wild, animals that can be seen in Aden. Fields are leased out to local farmers who use the ground for grazing their farm animals. Their presence, especially around Hareshowe Farm brings the story of farming in the North East of Scotland, to life. 

Aden Victorian Arboretum

Victorian & 21st Century Arboretums

An important feature within the designed landscape of Aden Country Park is the stunning Victorian arboretum (botanical garden of trees). The Victorian arboretum dates back to the 1850’s when plant collecting was at its height. The Victorian arboretum stretches from the area known as the Lower Garden, within a loop of the river Ugie. 

In recent years, the Victorian arboretum underwent a huge transformation. Starting in 2008, the first step was to remove unwanted tree species so that the original collection of trees from the 19th Century could be re-established. This work has ensured that the heritage of the former Aden Estate designed landscape was retained for future generation to enjoy. New planting of complementary 21st Century tree species was also completed, all helping to enhance, modernise, and improve the unique collection of trees in the arboretum.  

New footpaths, seating areas, additional signage, as well as many varieties of trees (labelled for ease of identification) were also planted. Finally, access to the Victorian arboretum was also improved by replacing the narrow bridge crossing the river Ugie, with a modern wider bridge, which allows greater access.  

Work on phase two of the arboretum regeneration project began in 2009 when the three-hectare site adjacent to the Mansion House was cleared. Conifer trees were felled; tree roots removed, ground cultivated, and grass seed sown. In 2011 this work was completed, and in 2012 a mixture of broadleaf trees from across the world were planted, a system of footpaths installed, along with picnic and seating areas formed so that visitors to Aden can enjoy the 21st Century arboretum.  

Ducks on Aden Lake


The lake and former mill pond would have been originally constructed to power the Aden estate farm buildings and thrashing mill. Today the lake has a new role to play. It is a real draw for both visitors and wildlife alike. The resident mallard, moorhen and occasional tufted and teal ducks always proving popular with visitors.  

Feeding the ducks can be a great experience for kids. They provide children with a good opportunity for interaction with small animals. One word of warning, if you do decide to feed any of our resident ducks, we do encourage people to buy a bag of duck food from the onsite Aden Café & Gift Shop. Breadcrumbs are not actually good for ducks as they do not provide nutrients.  

Other wildlife that can be spotted includes frogs, heron, swans, and signets, and even otter have been spotted in or near the lake. If you are lucky, you might even see the turquoise flash of a kingfisher. 

Neither fishing nor swimming are allowed in the Lake. 

insects and wildlife

Ranger Service

The Aberdeenshire Council Ranger Service offer support to schools, colleges, universities, and other organised groups to access, understand and enjoy our natural and cultural heritage. The Ranger Service welcomes bookings from organised groups where there is a common theme or shared interest. To find out how to book a session please visit our Book a Visit section of our website.  

The Ranger Service also organises a programme of events to help you make the most of your visit to Aberdeenshire’s fantastic coast and countryside. Some of these events are held in Aden Country Park. Whether you are interested in wildlife watching, have young children who enjoy hunting for mini-beasts, or simply want to benefit from some informal exercise by walking in the fresh air, there should be something to interest you. 

Events are usually free of charge. To view the Ranger Service events in Aden please visit the What’s On section of our website. To view Ranger Service events from across the whole of Aberdeenshire please visit the Ranger Service Eventbrite page or visit their Facebook Page for more information. 

If you are wanting to explore the nature and wildlife beyond Aden Country Park, Buchan and the surrounding area have much to offer those who enjoy nature.  For further information on the diverse range of both wildlife and habitats, which include some of the most beautiful nature reserves in the UK, please visit our Nature & Wildlife section on our website. 

Sensory Garden

SANDS, Sensory & Carers’ Gardens

Aden has three secluded gardens aimed at providing space for relaxation and contemplation. The Carers Garden acknowledging the role of carers in society, SANDS is a memorial garden for families who have experienced the death of a baby, and the Sensory Garden is aimed at stimulating all the senses. 

Aden Country Park is home to the UK’s first ever garden specifically designed and built for Carers. Everyone in the UK has a three in five chance of becoming an unpaid carer at some point in their life. The carers’ garden in Aden was built not only as a space for relaxation, a place for carers to meet, and to give those who need care a chance to enjoy a garden, but also to help raise awareness of the fact that there are so many unpaid carers in the UK. 

In Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire alone, there are 55,000 carers. At the centre of the garden this figure is marked with a mosaic made from 55,000 pieces – the first of which was laid by the Princess Royal who officially open the garden in September 2003. 

Today the garden is enjoyed by carers and visitors alike. In spring, rhododendrons, cherry trees, and peonies bloom. Summer is for bedding plants and geraniums, while in the cooler months, juniper, winter heather, cyclamen, the variegated foliage of weigela and the bark of dogwood ensure there are textures worth touching and colours worth seeing around every corner. 

Adjoining the Carers’ Garden in Aden Country Park is the sensory garden. This garden was specifically created to be accessible and enjoyable to visitors, both disabled and non-disabled. The garden provides individual and combined sensory opportunities for the visitor that they may not normally experience. 

The sensory garden contains scented and edible plants designed to provide a stimulating journey through the senses, heightening awareness, and bringing positive learning experiences. 

The sensory garden is a secluded space where visitors can explore various different plants, birds and wildlife, along with discovering the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch of the various areas. 

Aden Country Park has also created a special dedicated memorial garden aimed at providing a tranquil place where families who have experienced the death of a baby, can remember their infant in peaceful surroundings. 

The Fraserburgh and Peterhead SANDS (Still Birth and Neo-Natal Death Society) group have fundraised and received kind donations to enable the group to build the memorial garden in Aden, with assistance for the Landscape Services team. 

The SANDS Garden is located beside the Sensory and Carers’ Gardens, opposite the new Changing Places toilet block. The garden features flowers and shrubs, seating and as its centrepiece a memorial stone sculpted into SANDS symbol – a teardrop with child. Further information on SANDS can be found on the SANDS website.