DUDLEY'S famous zoo will have its name in lights in time for this year’s Heritage Open Days scheme after receiving £50,000 of council funding.

The iconic Grade II* listed Tecton entrance at Dudley Zoo and Castle has been upgraded with the new feature lighting thanks to funding from the Towns Fund accelerator grant awarded to Dudley Council to improve the street scene along Castle Hill as part of the town’s major regeneration plans.

The lights have been designed to illuminate the architectural significance of the iconic 20th century structure and complement the feature lighting scheme that was installed on a number of historic buildings in the town in 2017.

The lights will be switched on the for the first time on Friday September 10 to coincide with the launch of the national Heritage Open Days initiative, which runs from September 10 to 19.

Councillor Simon Phipps, Dudley Council's cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said: "Dudley Zoo and Castle is one of the town’s greatest assets and I’m delighted we’ve been able to invest a slice of the Towns Fund accelerator money to put its iconic entrance in lights.

"The investment, along with the other improvements along Castle Hill and in the town centre, will complement our major regeneration programme and breathe new life into this area, which will remain one of the main links between the town centre and the new developments taking place."

Derek Grove, director at Dudley Zoo, said: "I’m delighted that further funding has been made available to reveal the significance of this important Tecton Structure, one of 12 located within the grounds of the zoo. This project builds upon the investment that has been made by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Getty Foundation.

"Furthermore, it will enable the zoo to participate in the celebration of national events."

To support the Heritage Open Days scheme, Dudley Zoo and Castle will be allowing free entry to Dudley Castle on Thursday September 16 and Friday September 17 from 3.30pm to 7.30pm.

People will be able to learn more about the history of the town’s 11th century castle, take a look around the cobbled courtyard, tour the indoor Castle Creatures exhibit and climb the castle keep.

Although the event is free, places must be pre-booked at https://www.dudleyzoo.org.uk/heritage-open-day/ and it does not include access to the zoo.

To find out more about Dudley Heritage Open days visit dudleyheritageopendays.org.uk.