Revealed: A really wild plan for Leeds stately home

Lotherton Hall Bird Garden. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe
Lotherton Hall Bird Garden. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe
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Hundreds of feathered friends already call this historic Leeds estate their home.

And now ambitious plans have been revealed to sprinkle some extra animal magic at Lotherton Hall.

Lotherton Hall Bird Garden. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

Lotherton Hall Bird Garden. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

More than 450 individual birds take flight at the estate’s bird garden but they look set to have some new furry neighbours moving in as part of the £1.2million proposal to create Lotherton Wildlife World.

Tapirs, capybaras and a colony of Humboldt penguins are set to move into the estate which first opened to the public more than 35 years ago.

The scheme will take place in phases over the next two years and will see a series of themed zones created, each telling the story of our natural heritage and drawing on the travels of the previous owners of the estate, the Gascoignes.

Work on the first area, called the Coastal Zone, will begin this month and will feature enclosures where flamingos, wading and free flying birds will live in an aviary structure alongside the new penguin pool, which will include above and below water viewing areas.

Construction will also start on a Forest Zone, home to woodland mammals such as tapirs and capybaras, as well as a new visitor centre and shop.

Other areas to be built in future phases of the scheme will include an Africa Zone, featuring a new mongoose exhibit, a Tropical Zone, which will include tropical birds and new conservation facilities, a Children’s Zone, with a small zoo and farm animals, an Asia-themed zone which will be home to red pandas and an otter exhibit.

There will also be a South American area which will house a spectacular marmoset exhibit.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “Lotherton is part of the fabric of Leeds and has been a cornerstone of our city’s heritage for centuries. By investing in its future now, we can ensure it remains a place that thousands of families and visitors from Leeds and beyond can come and enjoy for many years to come.”

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive member for environment and sustainability added: “Lotherton Wildlife World will be a landmark visitor destination for people to enjoy and I’m sure the penguins will be a wonderful addition.”