Whipsnade Zoo's giant chalk lion gets a makeover

The refurbished Whipsnade White Lion. Credit: Whipsnade Zoo.

It's been the guardian of Dunstable Downs in Bedforshire for almost a century.

But now Whipsnade Zoo's iconic White Lion - a huge hillside chalk figure - has had a facelift.

Created in the 1930s, the 147m long lion had been starting to deteriorate.

But thanks to six months of work and 50 lorry loads of chalk it has now been spruced up.

During the Second World War, the lion was covered to prevent it from being used by enemy aircraft as a navigation point.

In May 1981, as part of ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s 50th anniversary celebrations, the lion was illuminated using 750 lightbulbs.

“As a site of Special Scientific Interest, the Whipsnade White Lion and the area around it are cared for by the Zoo all year round, using environmentally-friendly products to protect the native plants and animals.

"This new coating of chalk has made a huge difference to the eye-catching brilliance of the landmark and I can’t wait for all our Easter visitors, as well as our wonderful, local communities, to see it looking so great, as they drive towards the Zoo.”

– Owen Craft, General Manager