Historic buildings on Flat Holm island will be repaired and renovated, island habitats improved for wildlife, and a range of community and visitor engagement activities provided, after the island’s owners, Cardiff Council, successfully secured more than £600,000 of delivery funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The ‘Flat Holm: A Walk Through Time’ project, which will now also benefit from £200,000 of capital funding from the council, alongside further investment from partner organisations including RSPB Cymru and the Flat Holm Society, seeks to breathe new life into the island and attract more visitors to this hidden jewel in the Bristol Channel.
The three year project includes:
- extensive renovation of the Grade II-listed Fog Horn station.
- stabilisation of the cholera hospital and laundry buildings.
- repairs to the island’s Victorian water catchment system.
- renovation of the WWII searchlight station to provide a ‘seascape hide’ – a quiet place for visitors to watch the sea, ships, and birds.
- improved habitats for the island’s colony of lesser black-backed gulls and maritime flora.
- improved on-site interpretation to take visitors on a journey through the history of the island.
- a wider range of activities for visitors and local communities, so that more people can learn about and enjoy the heritage of this unique island.
The project will also feature a number of photographic and arts projects, as well as linking in with local authorities on the English side of the Bristol Channel to celebrate ‘Marconi Day’ and the island’s links to Guglielmo Marconi, who sent the first wireless signals over open sea between the island and Lavernock Point.
Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Cllr Peter Bradbury, said: “This funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund is incredibly welcome and coupled with our investment, and that of our partners, will result in considerable improvements to the island.”
“Flat Holm island is a hidden treasure right on Cardiff’s doorstep – it’s steeped in history that stretches from the Bronze Age all the way to the birth of modern communications technology, and as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, it’s home to some unique flora and fauna. This project is all about preserving that heritage, protecting its rich wildlife, and bringing the island’s fascinating stories to a wider audience.”
RSPB Cymru South Wales Area Manager, Cellan Michael, said: “RSPB Cymru are delighted at the news that Cardiff Council’s ‘Flat Holm: A Walk Through Time’ project has secured funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. We look forward to continuing to work with the Council, Flat Holm Society and others to conserve the wildlife of the island whilst helping as many people as possible to experience a site of such wildlife and heritage importance right on the city’s doorstep. A key element will be supporting the development and delivery of a new plan to conserve the island’s amazing wildlife, including the lesser black-backed gull colony as part of the island’s ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’.”
Peter Sampson, Chairman of the Flat Holm Society, said: “The Flat Holm Society is delighted that the NLHF Heritage Grant has been secured and we thank everyone in the Partnership who has worked so hard to make this happen. The grant, together with all the other investment planned, will enable us to secure the island and its unique heritage for future generations, which has always been the aim of the Society.”
The project also aims to provide opportunities for more school groups, communities and tourists to engage with or visit Flat Holm, as well as increase volunteer engagement, enabling more people to experience living and working on the island.
The Flat Holm Society welcomes new members. If you’re interested in joining, visit www.flatholmsociety.org.uk.