The iconic FlatHolm Island, which played a key role in protecting Welsh citizens during World War 2, is undergoing a major three-year refurbishment that will see it restored to its former glory. The driving forces behind the project are Woody’s Lodge, in partnership with Cardiff City Council and funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF).
Since March of this year, two trips have been made to the island with visitor and heritage improvement projects well underway. The team at Woody’s Lodge made up of veterans, patrons, and staff broke significant ground and even completed major builds that visitors can now access.
Read on for a snapshot of the incredible progress at FlatHolm Island.
Decked out on the first trip
From March 28 to April 1, we set off with a long list of refurbishing projects in priority, and we are happy to report that we made steady progress. The main project we ticked off the list was rebuilding the wooden deck on the island’s Foghorn Cottage. All those involved did a great job and should feel super proud of the end result. The deck is safe to use and built to last. It’s complete with two coats of non-slip paint that protects it from the elements and prevents visitors from slipping when wet. Other projects completed include refurbishing the visitor toilets, fixing the roof on one of the buildings and clearing some scrub and overgrowth around the island. We also began repairs on the island’s Swimmer Bridge and steps to an old ammunition bunker. Although we didn’t complete these the first time around, they are priority projects for our second trip.
Bridging the gap on the second trip
Armed with valuable lessons from our initial trip, we began the second trip to FlatHolm Island on May 17. The team working on this round of projects also received national recognition from BBC’s Countryfile, a community series that sheds light on the “people, places and issues” in the British countryside. Those representing Woody’s Lodge were interviewed and provided details on the work already done on the island and upcoming projects. We were incredibly proud to see the teams’ hard work appreciated and celebrated!
Although the filming did slow down progress a little, the team managed to complete repairs to Swimmers Bridge and the safety fences on either side. After a lick of paint to the fences, we officially opened the bridge to visitors! The only remaining upgrades left to do are minor cosmetic tweaks, which will be tackled on our third trip.
Another project we focused on was replacing the wooden steps leading to old ammunition bunkers. We installed new fence posts on the staircase and cleared out any overgrowth in the surrounding area. The steps need a few more tweaks before it’s officially opened to visitors. Both these projects will give visitors unprecedented access to places once closed off for years!
A word from our project lead
Mark Hodgkinson, Woody’s Lodge Project Officer and Community Engagement Manager, had the following to say:
“I would like to thank every veteran, patron and staff member from Woody’s Lodge who helped make both trips to the island a massive success. Your hard work, dedication and amazing workmanship has not gone unnoticed. Another big thank you to the BBC for including Woody’s Lodge on Countryfile – we appreciate the acknowledgement and recognition.”
All those working on this three-year project are breathing new life into an iconic Welsh landmark that will endure long after the final task is complete. We at Woody’s Lodge can’t wait for visitors and staff to enjoy FlatHolm Island in all its glory!
To keep up with all the upgrades, check out our Facebook Page.
For those looking for veteran support services in South, North and West Wales, contact Woody’s Lodge today to find out how we can help you. And don’t forget to stay updated with the latest events, news and insider happenings by subscribing to our newsletter.