Our Longhaven Cliffs Wildlife Reserve at Heathery Haven, which forms part of the Aberdeenshire Coastal Trail, has a flight of new wooden steps thanks to funding from Aberdeenshire Council’s Coastal Communities Challenge Fund.
A funding award of £25,000 has helped to deliver this first phase of access improvements. The reserve’s path offers stunning views along a 2.5 mile stretch of the Buchan coast, between Peterhead and Cruden Bay, with spectacular pink granite cliffs rising to 60 meters studded with inlets, stacks, caves and arches. Out to sea, dolphins can be spotted, with occasional sightings of harbour porpoise and minke whale. In summer, the towering cliffs teem with breeding seabirds such as kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills and puffins.
During November 2022, a section of dilapidated steps were replaced, and drainage improved. The old and new materials were airlifted by helicopter due to the inaccessible location and steepness of Heathery Haven.
Reserve Manager, Rab Potter with the Scottish Wildlife Trust, said: “Worked start in November by removing the old steps and bagging up the old timber to be airlifted out. Preparatory work was done to even out the ground along the line of the path and dig out the drainage ditches. A large flat topped stone was dug in at the bottom of the flight of steps to prevent walkers treading down onto soft ground at the bottom.
“Due to the very steep gradient of the slope and no practical way of taking a less steep line, the gradient was kept as even as possible to prevent any part of it being even steeper. This was around 25 degrees, reducing to nearer 20 degrees at the top. The previous steps were over 35 degrees in places and very awkward to walk up or down. To strengthen the raised section, double posts were used instead of single.
“The improvements made to the flight of steps at Longhaven Cliffs Wildlife Reserve will enable more people to have an enjoyable walk to take in Aberdeenshire’s stunning coastal scenery, marine sea life, seabirds, coastal heath wildflowers and insects all found on the site at different times of year.”
Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Buchan Area Committee, Cllr Dianne Beagrie, is delighted with the completed works, commenting: “These improvements to the wonderful path at Heathery Haven will make a tremendous difference in making this stretch safer and more accessible for those wishing to walk along our beautiful coastline.
“This is a great use of our Coastal Communities funding and I would take this opportunity to encourage others to learn from this successful project and consider how they could be making a real difference in their own areas to safeguard and improve our coastline for the benefit of residents and visitors alike in the future.”
Read more about the technical aspects of the project in this blog.
Join the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire group to help manage the Trust’s wildlife reserves in the area.
This project was supported by NESFLAG and funded by Aberdeenshire Council’s Coastal Communities Challenge Fund.