Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Animal magic coming to Pudsey

Caption: Leader of Leeds City Council Cllr Andrew Carter (left) and executive member for Leisure Cllr John Procter (right) inside one of the aviaries in the new centre

The finishing touches are currently being applied to the latest Leeds visitor attraction ahead of its grand opening at the end of the month.

The much-anticipated West Leeds Country Park Visitor Centre at Pudsey Park is undergoing final preparations as it gets ready to open its doors to the public for the first time on Saturday 27th March.

The new visitor centre will be free to enter and is located in the former aviary building at Pudsey Park, which has been extended and refurbished in a project managed by Leeds City Council’s Parks and Countryside Service.

The new-look building is a celebration of the diverse range of wildlife and habitats to be found along the West Leeds Country Park – a 32km circular trail which runs from the city centre through a green corridor heading towards Bradford before looping back towards Leeds taking in a path past the historic Kirkstall Abbey and the picturesque Leeds-Liverpool Canal along the River Aire.

The visitor centre contains snapshots of key habitats along the route of the country park, with native wildlife on display including rabbits, harvest mice, brown rats, birds, moths, butterflies and fish.

The distinct sections of the centre include a stone-built farmhouse barn, interactive woodland area, recreation of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal complete with lock gates, aviaries and six new aquariums holding native species of freshwater fish including trout, carp, roach, tench and pike. The stunning centrepiece of the aquarium section is a giant central tank which holds approximately 13,000 litres of water and will be filled with a variety of fish.

Each section includes interpretation boards and educational information to help people of all ages to learn more about the animals and where they can be found in the wild along the West Leeds Country Park.

The new visitor centre also has an activity and community room ideal for hosting meetings, events, presentations, school groups and arts and craft sessions, and it is hoped local environmental community groups will be keen to host events there.

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Andrew Carter said:

“The new West Leeds Country Park Visitor Centre looks fantastic and it is all coming together really well. We cannot wait to get the doors open and let people come in and see all the wildlife on display and learn all about the fascinating animals and habitats to be found on their doorstep.”

The new centre will be managed by the same team who look after another major Leeds animal attraction – Tropical World in Roundhay, which itself was in the news last week as it now has three new-born meerkats to add to the other recent high-profile additions of juvenile crocodiles and exotic snakes.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:

“We are delighted to be opening another major wildlife attraction for residents and visitors to Leeds to enjoy.

“The new West Leeds Country Park Visitor Centre complements Tropical World perfectly as visitors will be able to see exotic animals and also now the wonderful native species which live in and around Leeds. We want people of all ages to come and see what the new centre has to offer and we are confident everyone will be impressed. “


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk