PEOPLE of all ages attended the first open day at St Augustine's churchyard in Penarth recently.

Organisers said they were delighted with the interest shown in the Habitat and Heritage Project as a whole, and visitors braved the weather to look at the graves of various notable locals, which was led by Alan Thorne.

A reading by Richard Parry of Coleridge’s The Ancient Mariner held people's attention, and cakes and plants were sold in abundance.

Andrew Davison, chair of the Habitat and Heritage group said: “It was a really worthwhile event and my admiration goes to all the volunteers who came to talk to visitors, lead walks and look after stalls; by the end of the day some were hanging on to gazebos to prevent them being blown across the bay, which was far more than they had signed up to."

Many people had come to find out about relatives and friends who were buried in the churchyard.

Guided by the church archivist, Viv Liles, they discovered how much work is going into making the records more accessible.

A small, but keen group, followed Vaughn Matthews from the South West Wales Nature Trust, on a nature walk around the churchyard and were rewarded by seeing and identifying several moths, bugs and bees – including a mason bee who had found an ideal home in the wall of the church.

Habitat and History is the flagship project of the Friends of St Augustine’s.

The aim is to care for the graves and conserve and repair where necessary, highlight the history and heritage contained within the churchyard, and encourage and protect the wildlife.

Chairwoman of the Friends, Cathy Grove, said she believes St Augustine’s Churchyard will "eventually be as well known as Penarth Pier" and will become "one of the ‘must do’ destinations in the area".

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