Seaton Wetland Project

Seaton Wetland Project in Aberdeen transformed an area of park which regularly flooded into a fantastic wetland for wildlife, which helps protect the rest of the park from future flooding.

Working with Nature – Aberdeen leads the way


Picture of the extent of flooding at Seaton Park, with large grass areas under water.

Flooding at Seaton Park © Ian Talboys

2009 Scottish legislation recognised that traditional hard engineering solutions to flood control, like concrete walls or watercourse dredging, were not sustainable solutions to increasing flood risks being made worse by climate change.  The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) produced a Flood Management Handbook which gathered examples of alternative flood control which relied on the natural processes of wetlands to reduce the risk and impact of flooding.  In 2019, the Scottish Government published updated guidance on how to tackle this growing problem.

Picture of the extent of flooding at Seaton Park, with large grass areas and the road under water.

Flooding covering the road at Seaton Park © Ian Talboys

Seaton Park, in the north of Aberdeen, has long been popular for leisurely walks and with  the many amateur footballers and rugby players using its games pitches.  But like many low laying areas, it became increasingly affected by failed land drains and major flooding events like Storm Frank.    Aberdeen City Council decided a more sustainable solution was required.  Instead of trying to hold back the floods with walls and barriers or pumping the water away, they created wetland areas in carefully selected parts of the park (which would store surface water) and new drainage elsewhere.  This means the majority of the rest of the park is now better protected, even during the wettest periods, for sports and all the other recreational activities.


Picture of the Seaton wetland area which was planted with wildflowers.

Seaton Park wetland area after the site improvements © Ian Talboys

If you notice pond levels drop during Summer; don’t worry, it’s designed to do that so it can cope at times of year when rain is much heavier.  Ducks, herons, dragonflies and damselflies have already taken up residence and can cope with the variable weather better than we do.

Picture of male and female Teal ducks on the Seaton Wetland

Teal Ducks at Seaton Park © Ian Talboys

Picture of an Emerald Damselfly up close

Emerald Damselfly © Ian Talboys

picture of Yellow Flag Iris close up with a soldier beetle on the flower

Yellow Flag Iris with Soldier Beetle © Ian Talboys

With Friends of Seaton Park and funding from Aberdeen Greenspace and Sustrans, the City Council contracted local company Walking-the-Talk and cbec eco-engineering to look at the options.  The resulting Seaton Wetland Project saw a wetland nature reserve replace an area of flooded grassland at Seaton Park and the playing fields returned to their regular use.

Friends of Seaton Park said, ” We were delighted to be involved with the creation of the Wetland.  A once unloved, soggy, useless area is now a haven for wildlife of all varieties, shapes and sizes.”

Picture of various wildflowers in bloom across the wetland site.

Wildflowers in bloom across the Seaton wetland site © Ian Talboys

During the works, an ancient tree trunk, believed to be thousands of years old was unearthed, as was a huge rock (or glacial erratic) transported there by glacier during the last Ice Age – more than 10,000 years ago.

The Seaton Wetlands were inspired by the East Tullos Burn Project at St Fittick’s Park; another Award winning Aberdeen City Council Project.

Ewen Cameron

Independent Member at NESBiP