15/05/2018

Historic steps unearthed at Bristol Zoo Gardens

​Bristol Zoo Gardens has turned back the clock in part of its historic grounds by uncovering a flight of steps that have been buried for a generation.

The broad sweep of concrete steps used to lead visitors to the monkey temple that was first opened in 1928.

The monkeys were moved in the late 1980s to their current natural enclosures with trees, islands and lakes and later the deep moat around the monkey temple was filled with tons of soil.

A waist high concrete wall was built across the 15 feet wide steps and they were then covered with earth and plants.

Now gardeners at the 181-year-old Zoo have removed around five tons of soil as well as yew trees, ivy and forsythia plants to reveal the steps for the first time in almost 20 years.

Tom Hedges, director of estates at Bristol Zoo Gardens, said: “It’s really exciting to uncover parts of the Zoo’s history, which may have been forgotten.

“Many of our guests still remember the monkey temple as it used to be and we are hoping people will come and sit on the steps to have their pictures taken with the temple behind them.”

He said in time it was hoped to uncover more steps to either side of the newly exposed flight.

The monkey temple is now an interactive exhibit, called Smarty Plants, which shows how plants use and manipulate animals to survive.

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