Leeds Covid Memorial wood planned on former South Leeds Golf course site

A new Covid memorial woodland has been planned in tribute to those who have died during the coronavirus pandemic.

By Rebecca Marano
Monday, 21st June 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Monday, 21st June 2021, 4:46 pm

Almost 50 hectares of public parkland could be turned into the memorial site on the former South Leeds Golf Course, just off the Ring Road next to Middleton Park.

South Leeds Golf Club in Middleton - believed to have been one of Leeds’ oldest golf clubs - announced last year it had gone into administration.

Vandalism, declining membership and the rising price of bills were cited at the time as reasons the club, on Gipsy Lane, was unable to survive, after a 113-year history.

South Leeds Gold Course. Photo: James Hardisty

The land was leased from Leeds City Council it was surrendered by administrators last March.

The new green space, which would be created with Leeds Hospitals Charity, would add five kilometres of new walking trails plus scope for new cycle trails.

A variety of new habitats are planned including 9,000 trees, a wildflower meadow and wetland habitat, plus rewilding practices such as reduced mowing will form part of the management plan, the council said.

It would also be dedicated to frontline workers providing a place for reflection and recreation.

The project requires £700k to enable work to commence.

Members of the public will be asked to give their views about the project in a soon to be launched consultation.

The Leader of Leeds City Council, councillor James Lewis said: "“This memorial wood, which will be a beautiful asset to future generations, not only creates a fitting tribute to those who have sadly lost their lives to Covid-19, but it also supports a healthy environment.

“We hope it provides a destination for quiet reflection for the residents of Leeds to visit and remember their loved ones or appreciate the work of front line and key workers.

“We also want residents to enjoy the new recreation opportunities and for the park to provide a resource to the local community, such as the nearby school.”

Esther Wakeman, Chief Executive at Leeds Hospitals Charity, said: “Since the pandemic began, we have wanted to create a lasting memorial for those who sadly died through COVID 19.

“We expect an official launch in early autumn when we will be able to let people know how they can give in memory.”