Work to begin on restoring a nineteenth century bear pit in Headingley

The site has been in the ownership of Leeds Civic Trust since the 1960s.

The bear pit is some of the only remnant of the Leeds Zoological and Botanical Gardens, open between 1840-1858.

Work is set to begin on restoring the Cardigan Road bear pit in Headingley.

From Monday 11 March 2024, the land, which has been in the ownership of Leeds Civic Trust since the 1960s, will involve repairing the structure, landscaping the area behind the bearpit, incorporating railings so that people can safely look into the bearpit and introducing new paths and seating.

The Civic Trust hopes to illuminate the structure via solar-powered lights and work with the local community to ensure that “it is appreciated by and accessible to members of the public in the future”.

Image: Supplied

The initial programme to restore the land will involve a “simple landscaping scheme” but in time the trust hopes to introduce planting as well to the area.

The full cost of the restoration project is thought to be around £100,000, according to the BBC.

All is not decided just yet though, the question of whether to reintroduce a (model) bear continues to be discussed by the trust.

The bear pit formed part off a local zoo, and later, Leeds Botanical Gardens. / Image: Supplied

Leeds Civic Trust Director Martin Hamilton said: “It has been a long time in coming but we are delighted that we now have the funds to bring this important structure to life. As the owners of a listed structure we have a legal responsibility to ensure its upkeep, and this project should give the building a new lease of life”

“We are keen to explore how the structure and associated land can be appreciated and enjoyed by residents and will be looking at this over the summer.”

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Feature Image – Supplied

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