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Case Studies > Formartine's Visitor Centre

Haddo Estate, Aberdeenshire

Case Study Formartine's Visitor Centre Haddo Estate, Aberdeenshire
Case Study Formartine's Visitor Centre Formartine’s Visitor Centre is a pioneering, zero-carbon building set in several acres of beautiful woodland on the Haddo Estate in Aberdeenshire. It provides the local community with a hub to meet and explore the natural woodlands whilst also supporting local businesses by selling artisanal products and a restaurant serving the best local and seasonal produce.

The Visitor Centre is located in the heart of Aberdeenshire’s rich countryside on the National Trust for Scotland’s historic Castle Trail, where visitors can enjoy the rich diversity of trees and wildlife including red squirrels, herons, osprey, deer and duck.

The woodland trails and outdoor adventure playground at Formartine’s provides a great space for children to learn and explore. Through active management, Haddo Estate has planted more than 400 new trees to help sustain the environment and ensure that future generations of visitors have even more to see.

The fine food hall is stocked with local artisanal products including hand-selected delicacies and a great range of gifts and art. The restaurant offers an excellent variety of dishes, using as much local produce as possible together with delicious home baked cakes, pastries, biscuits and pancakes, all in a relaxing atmosphere allowing visitors to unwind.

Minimising their environmental impact is at the heart of how the visitor centreoperates. The innovative building design contributes vastly to their green credentials, and was built using granite found on a nearby site and Scottish larch sourced within 100 miles of Russwood’s Highland Sawmill. They also have a heat recovery system which cleverly recycles existing “waste” heat from the chill unit in the shop so successfully that it provides all the heating and hot water to the common areas and renewable energy is used for the remaining heating and electricity giving them a 100% zero-carbon emission status.

Formartine’s are focused on ensuring they are an ethical and sustainable business and are actively seeking ways to improve their local community and environment. They received a Gold Award in the Green Tourism Business Scheme in their first year and were also awarded a 4 star status from The Scottish Tourist Board.

The Visitor Centre is a commercial enterprise and has created a great deal of employment. It has proven to be a big draw for both tourists and the local communities to visit. Their focus on supporting their nearby suppliers by stocking their fine food hall with local artisan products and using their produce in the restaurant means they are providing vital support to a number of small businesses within the rural community.

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