Leeds Owl Trail success

A Leeds heritage tour has become a soaraway success – thanks to the efforts of eagle-eyed city folk.

The Leeds Owl Trail, run by a group of local artists, helps people to track down the famous symbol of the city of Leeds in carvings, statues and even in stained glass windows.

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When it was launched last year, the trail had just 10 "sites of interest".

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But thanks to readers of the YEP and the thousands of people who have since taken the tour, it now boasts an additional 15 owls for history lovers to spot.

The original sites included the golden owls in Millennium Square, the owls on the Leeds Museum, the owls at St Anne's Cathedral and the ones nestling on the Town Hall.

Among the new Owl sites are:

* the Yorkshire Penny Bank in Infirmary Street;

* the War Memorial in Victoria Gardens;

* Leeds City Library on The Headrow;

* Fountain House in South Parade

* Hepper House in East Parade;

* the Met Hotel in King Street;

* the Flares nightclub (formerly Midland Bank) in Bishopgate Street;

* Leeds Parish Church.

Trail director Antonia Stowe said she had been overwhelmed by the response to the tour.

She said: "We initially did a print run of 2,000 maps. After it was featured in the Yorkshire Evening Post the interest really started to take off and we ended up having to print 33,000 maps.

"It's also become an educational project and we do a lot of work with Leeds schoolchildren. It's been a great tool to get them interested in their city's heritage.

"Since we published the first map we've had a lot of people come to us to point out new owls so we've decided to redraw the map to include 25 owls on a Grand Owl Tour.

"It's great. The trail started really as just an idea but it's now grown into a real passion."

The new trail was being officially launched today and for the first time there will also be a Chinese edition for tourists and residents.

For more details go to www.leedsowltrail.com or email: info@leedsowltrail.com

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