Habitat and Heritage
The Friends were awarded a grant by Environment Wales to commission a flora and fauna survey of the churchyard. This was the first step along a long road to assess the churchyard as a site of safe public green space. The project seeks to safeguard the environment of the plants and animals that live in the churchyard while at the same time promoting enjoyment of the space by the local community. The area is an ideal resource for encouraging greater understanding of wildlife and biodiversity. That is the habitat side of the coin.
The other side is the heritage aspect of the churchyard. St Augustine’s was the only site for burials in Penarth before the opening of Penarth Cemetery and contains many old and interesting graves. Sadly, many of these graves and tombs are decaying and in a dangerous condition. The slope of the ground, fallen and leaning kerbs and stones make it difficult to walk around the graveyard and this is an issue that will also be tackled.
The Flora and Fauna Survey has been completed and the Wildlife Trust has submitted a report of their findings and recommendations. As a result we have put up bird boxes and will be putting up bat boxes to encourage the various birds and bats that live in and around the churchyard. We have started a system of grass cutting that leaves some areas long, on a rotational basis, as a habitat for slow worms and other animals and insects. There will eventually be boards giving information about the wildlife of the churchyard and the reasons for the grass cutting regime.
A Steering Group has now been set up and work has begun on the churchyard. The trees have been checked and safety work has been carried out. We have installed bird and bat boxes.
Recently, the Friends received the welcome news that we have received two grants. The first is for £1,000 and is from the Allchurches Trust. This is to help with the cost of grass cutting. The second grant is from the Heritage Lottery Fund and is a Start Up Grant worth £8,000. This is to help pay for the costs involved in getting the work of the project off the ground. We are grateful to the Allchurches Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund for their support and encouragement.