Diocesan press releases

Cycling holiday scheme offers hope for rural churches

The Church in Wales has joined forces with a Ceredigion businessman to kick start the Welsh Government’s Year of Discovery tourism campaign.

The SpiritCymru project will also bring valuable support to struggling – even closed – rural churches by opening them up as accommodation for touring cyclists.

The scheme is the brainchild of James Lynch, who runs fforest, a sustainable holiday company based in Cilgerran. 2019 has been designated the Year of Discovery by Visit Wales.

Special sleeping pods will be installed in a number of remote churches and chapels for use by cycling tourists.

“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. SpiritCymru will celebrate and promote the heritage values of these beautiful buildings and provide a new sustainable model for continued community engagement and use,” Mr Lynch said.

The head of Property Services at the Church in Wales, Alex Glanville, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to work in partnership with fforest to find a new, innovative purpose for churches that have been closed. These buildings remain special places which will find a new audience through SpiritCymru.”

The scheme has received financial backing from Welsh Government’s Tourism Product Innovation Fund and bookings are expected to open in the autumn.