Access improvements made to Aberdeenshire’s Coastal Path at Heathery Haven

Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Longhaven Cliffs Wildlife Reserve coastal path at Heathery Haven has a flight of new wooden steps thanks to funding from Aberdeenshire Council’s Coastal Communities Challenge Fund.

A funding award of £25,000 to the Scottish Wildlife Trust, which owns Longhaven Cliffs Wildlife Reserve, 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.

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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.

The Heathery Haven completed steps.

Reserve Manager, Rab Potter, 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. 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 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, said: “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.”

The steps will make a huge difference to access.