In a campaign called SpiritCymru, rural Welsh churches — some of them isolated, disused, or facing uncertain futures — will become better-known.

SpiritCymru, operated jointly by the Church in Wales and a mid-Wales businessman, will raise awareness of some architectural gems. SpiritCymru hopes to create awareness and raise support for struggling — even closed — rural churches by opening them as accommodation for touring cyclists.

The project is the brainchild of James Lynch, who runs a sustainable holiday company. In several of these churches, sleeping pods will provide overnight accommodation for cycling visitors.

“We know that there are some 800 chapels and churches in the rural and coastal communities of Wales — many of which are facing an uncertain future,” Lynch said. “SpiritCymru will celebrate and promote the heritage values of these beautiful buildings and provide a new sustainable model for continued community engagement and use.”

“This is an exciting opportunity to work in partnership,” said Alex Glanville, head of property services for the Church in Wales. “These buildings remain special places which will find a new audience through SpiritCymru.”

The project has financial support from the Welsh Government’s Tourism Product Innovation Fund. Bookings are likely to begin in autumn.

John Martin

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