North West Wales

St Gwyddelan Church in Dolwyddelan is first to win eco award

St Gwyddelan's in Dolwyddelan Image copyright Euan Nelson / Geograph
Image caption St Gwyddelan's is introducing wild primroses to its grounds

A small village church in Snowdonia which has energy efficient lighting and heating has become the first church in Wales to win an eco award.

St Gwyddelan's in Dolwyddelan, Gwynedd, was awarded the bronze eco-church award by environment charity A Rocha.

Changes made included improving the 16th Century church building, as well as allowing wild flowers to grow in the graveyard and putting up bird boxes.

The Bishop of Bangor, the Rt Rev Andy John, congratulated the church.

Deirdre Southgate, the warden at St. Gwyddelan's, said the church's eco journey started back in 1984 when they had to build a shed in the churchyard for storing equipment.

"It was designed with a turf roof to give good insulation and reduce dampness, but it also allowed it to blend into the scenery and made it more acceptable to neighbours," she said.

"It was originally covered with bilberry plants, with wildlife in mind. Some still remain but other plants have self sown.

"A start has now been made on introducing wild primroses in our churchyard and more could be done with wild daffodils and other native species."

'Setting example'

In more recent years, LED light bulbs have been used in the church, while lighting is on a timer. The old storage heaters have also been changed to be more energy efficient.

Bishop John, said the church had set an example in its work.

"I'm sure that other churches in the diocese will want to follow in their footsteps," he added.

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