East Tullos Burn

Learn about the restoration work which took place at East Tullos Burn in Aberdeen City and transformed the area for both wildlife and the local community.

Once upon a time (well in 2010), Aberdeen City Council began a survey of open spaces in Aberdeen.  One of those places was tucked away between the houses in Balnagask, the Industrial Estate of East Tullos and Nigg Bay Waste Water Treatment Works – but it wasn’t in very good condition.

Dumped rubbish, overgrown paths and the very polluted East Tullos Burn running through the middle of it.  After talking to local people and organisations, a plan was drawn up and improvement work began in 2014.

Picture of the East Tullos Burn prior to any work, with large amounts of rubbish in the burn.

East Tullos Burn © Ian Talboys

Like all good plans, it didn’t aim to do just one thing – but several different things that could all safely happen side by side.  Somewhere nice for people living nearby to go for a walk on dry and well-made paths; somewhere for children to play; somewhere for the local schools to go for outdoor lessons, somewhere for everyone to see and enjoy the wildlife that lives in even the busiest parts of our cities and hopefully a place that would attract more wildlife.

First to be tackled was the rubbish that had been dumped there over the years.   Then the East Tullos Burn, which had been straightened and deepened in the past so it was no better than an open drain.  A more natural, twisty course was re-created and by making the sides less steep and adding some gentle hollows alongside – to cope with occasional floods – a variety of new wildlife habitats began to appear.

New paths were built at a level which meant they would still be dry in very rainy weather.  Trees were planted and wildflower seed sown (that’s the bit our Biodiversity Partnership contributed to).

Picture of wildflowers in bloom along the paths of East Tullos Burn

East Tullos Burn Wildflowers © Ewen Cameron

All that planning and effort has seen the East Tullos Burn area totally transformed, go on to win many prestigious prizes and awards and feature as one of our 20 top projects in this publication.  People love to walk there and more and more wildlife are attracted there – well done Aberdeen.   You can read more about the ongoing work on Facebook.  It would be nice to think that having seen what is being achieved, towns and villages across the north east will borrow these ideas and tackle their wasted spaces too.

Picture of wildflowers in bloom at East Tullos Burn with a bumblebee

Close up of East Tullos Burn Wildflowers © Ewen Cameron


Ewen Cameron

Independent Member at NESBiP