Countesswells Property Development

Countesswells property development keeps an eye on biodiversity and takes a big step in the right direction for developments of the future.

Wildlife in the City

Just before Christmas 2016 an advert appeared for new houses in the Countesswells development in the western part of Aberdeen. Nothing unusual in that you might think, but instead of mentioning walk-in wardrobes, the advert spoke of “walk-in woodlands”.

Adverts for Countesswells were full of mentions of wildlife, biodiversity and greenspace.  Having never seen new houses advertised this way before – we were intrigued.  We went to say hello and got to know the folks at Countesswells Development Ltd (CDL) and have gone on to share ideas on how we could help the residents discover more about the wildlife they share with in their new community – to help them discover the wildlife they literally have on their doorstep.

One striking feature of Countesswells is the Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) where the more customary culverts and concrete tanks have been replaced with natural looking watercourses and ponds sown with native wildflowers.  And at its heart lies the once canalised and straightened Cults Burn, which has been restored to a more natural and attractive course.  Although it may not be perfect from a wildlife perspective, it is a very big step in the right direction and an example that we hope will be copied by all sorts of built developments in future.

2018 saw another first at Countesswells when we joined forces with CDL to put on a BioBlitz.  A BioBlitz is simply a concerted effort to record as many different types of wildlife in a given area, in a set period of time.  BioBlitzes are increasingly common on nature reserves and other countryside areas, but as far as we know, this is the first one to be carried out in a housing development.  With the help of residents, volunteers, visitors and some local experts, a variety of wildflowers, moths and birds were seen in the space of a few hours and notified to the North East Scotland Biological Record Centre (NESBReC).

A BioBlitz is a fun way of introducing people, from the age of one to one hundred, to the Nature on their doorsteps – even in the heart of our cities.  We can’t wait to do it again and beat our previous record.

Calling all property developers

Visit our Developer Hub to find out how to protect our biodiversity

Ewen Cameron

Independent Member of NESBiP