New lease of life for Flat Holm as HLF funding is announced

A project which seeks to re-engage Cardiff with Flat Holm has secured phase 1 grant funding towards the proposed £1.3m development of the Island.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded £152,200 of development phase funding to Flat Holm; A Walk Through Time – a joint project between Cardiff Council, RSPB Cymru and the Flat Holm Society that seeks to breathe new life into the Bristol Channel island to preserve its heritage, protect its rich wildlife and attract more visitors to the site.

Flat Holm is steeped in history and the earliest known visitor to the island was St Cadoc in the 6th Century. During the 18th century, the island’s location made it an ideal base for smuggling. It is probably most famous though for being the site of Marconi’s first wireless signal transmission over open sea in May 1897.

The project includes extensive renovation of the Grade II-listed Fog Horn Station, stabilisation of the Grade II-listed cholera hospital and laundry buildings, as well as repair works to the Victorian water catchment system on the Island.  Environmental development is planned to improve habitats for Lesser Black-Backed Gulls and maritime flora and there will also be on-site interpretation to take visitors on a journey through the history of the island.

In addition to the Island works, the project also includes plans for a large-scale public engagement venture on the mainland to promote Flat Holm. The proposed events, outdoor photographic exhibition, links with local attractions and  large scale sculpture on Cardiff Bay Barrage  will  bring the sounds and stories of the Island through time to Cardiff residents and visitors.

The project will also provide opportunities for more school groups, communities and tourists to engage with or visit the island alongside increased volunteer engagement offering more opportunities to experience living and working on this gem of an Island.

The £152,200 award is the first of two phases of funding to develop and deliver the £1.3m project, with the potential of around £800,000 of HLF funding in total if successful at round two.

Running parallel to the project will be the reinstatement of the jetty, a vital structure for servicing and bringing visitors to the island, thanks to a £385,000 grant from the Landfill Communities Fund. Repair of the jetty is vital to renewing the access arrangements to the island following deterioration and damage from weather and tidal conditions over many years and will serve to support the planned HLF project.

Bridget Box, Secretary, Flat Holm Society, said: “This is marvellous news! Our thanks go to everyone who worked so hard to secure this essential funding. The immediate future of the island with its unique history and habitats is secure and the Flat Holm Society looks forward to working with our Partners at the Council and the RSPB to continue important conservation and maintenance work, as well as making the island a first-class visitor attraction.”

Arial shot of Flat Holm Island

Flat Holm is probably most famous though for being the site of Marconi’s first wireless signal transmission over open sea in May 1897.

Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Peter Bradbury said: “This is fantastic news for the Council and our partners in the conservation and development of Flat Holm.

“Flat Holm is a unique attraction and one of our city’s hidden treasures so I’m delighted that we have been successful in gaining the development phase funding that will enable us to take the first step in breathing new life into the island to attract both local people and visitors to the Welsh capital.

“We’re very grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund, and of course, all those who play the National Lottery, for this funding which will help us to renovate key island buildings and improve the natural habitats for wildlife on the island while giving people the opportunity to find out more about the fascinating history of the place.”

If you would like to get involved with the work of the Flat Holm Society and have opportunities to volunteer on the island, then why not join us and become a Flat Holm Society member!

August 2018 Working Day

Society members worked their socks off during a working day on Flat Holm recently and completed a long list of jobs!

From stripping and painting a door in the barracks to replacing a damaged hand rail, weeding the water catchment area to mowing and weeding around the keeper’s cottage and fog horn station. A great day was had with superb weather to boot!

Barracks Door

Newly painted barracks door

Fog Horn Keepers Cottage

Fog Horn Keepers Cottage

Newly replaced handrail

Newly replaced handrail

Weeded water catchment

Weeded Water Catchment

Would you like to sp end some time volunteering on Flat Holm island?  Find out how you can become a member of the society and take part in volunteering activities on the island here!




Gwent Glamorgan Recorders Newsletter


Richard Facey, Flat Holm Ringing Group, Ringing a House Martin on one of the summer trips to Flat Holm.

The Flat Holm Sociey feature in the latest edition of the Gwent Glamorgan Recorders Newsletter. 

The article gives a comprehensive update on the summer trips over to Flat Holm.

Also featured in the newsletter is a very interesting article about the work that the South East Wales Biodiversity Records are doing in collecting data from Mary Gillham’s diaries.

Autumn Volunteer Weekend on Flat Holm – Spaces Available

Flat Holm Island, sunset and sustainable development

Sunset over Flat Holm

We still have a couple of places available on this weekend’s volunteering trip to Flat Holm Island (departing 07:15 10th October and returning 21:15 12th October).

The main purpose of this trip is to is to carry out general island maintenance and various surveys including:  painting, vegetation clearance, DIY jobs, butterfly survey, vegetation survey, beach clean, bird walk and autumn migration bird ringing.

Free for Flat Holm Society Members. £10 for non members.  Email if you would like to come along.

Environment Wales Grant Application Submitted

Black Cap Bird

Black Cap ringed on Flat Holm

We have submitted this year’s grant application to Environment Wales today. A big thank you to everyone who has helped with this and sent in letters of support.

This year we are asking for funding to continue to enable us to assist in the long-running bird monitoring and ringing project. Flat Holm serves as a nesting ground for approximately 4000 pairs of Lesser Black Backed gulls. The grant will enable the society to continue to conduct gull ringing and population counts on the island. This year we are also proposing that during island visits, society member volunteers will also undertake general bird ringing and monitor other birds, butterfly, moth and bat species present on the Island. It is also proposed that the society will undertake regular vegetation surveys. It is hoped that we will be able to provide training to volunteers in survey and identification techniques for bird, butterfly, moth and bats.

Lesser Black Backed Gull

Lesser Black Backed Gull on Flat Holm

Finally, we are proposing to provide education in the importance of proper waste disposal and recycling through beach cleans and surveys. Surveys will show what waste is washing up on the beaches and information will be shared with the Marine Conservation Society. All items collected during beach clean activities will be recycled / disposed of in the appropriate way on the mainland.

If you would like to get involved in any of the volunteer work we are hoping to carry out this year then please email . We can offer a variety of different volunteering options on Flat Holm Island ranging from one day, overnight to longer periods of 1 – 2 weeks. This year we also hope to be able to offer some mainland based volunteering activities too!

Future of Flat Holm island secured

FH IslandWe are very pleased to announce that at a meeting of the Cardiff council’s cabinet yesterday it was agreed that the island should remain open and operated by the authority until April 2015. Operational control will then be transferred to two unnamed national organisations which have been chosen as the preferred operator after the council sought expressions of interests.

This is excellent news for Flat Holm and the Society will continue to support the work of Cardiff Council and the new organisations during the period of transition and beyond.

Read the story about this in today’s Western Mail.

Spaces available on volunteer trip

Fancy a weekend with a difference?

gulls_put_upWe still have spaces on this weekend’s volunteer trip to Flat Holm Island. you are interested please email

The trip departs at 08:30 am on the 20th of September and departs Flat Holm at 10:30 on the 22nd September. All food and boat costs are covered by the Environment Wales Grant.

Matt the Warden has put together a list of jobs he needs help with including various general maintenance, painting and vegetation clearing work. During the trip there may also be an opportunity to assist the Valleys Bat Group in undertaking a survey of the Island.

You will have spare time to explore Flat Holm and enjoy a pint in the Gull and Leek.