Bikes, bishops, tractors and Bridget Jones to help save England’s historic churches

ENJOY a Psalmathon, go biking with the Bishop and visit the church featured in the new Bridget Jones film, Bridget Jones’ Baby; just some of the things to do on Ride and Stride on Saturday, the annual fundraising day to save England’s historic churches.

Basil Eastwood and Bishop Colin take part in the Ride and Stride.

Basil Eastwood and Bishop Colin take part in the Ride and Stride.

Over 10,000 people nationally will be taking part in ‘Ride+Stride for churches’, cycling, walking, riding horses and even driving tractors to take part in special events and visiting over 8,000 churches, chapels and meeting houses which will be open specially for the day.

Heritage at Risk

Riders and striders are sponsored to visit as many churches as they can in a day and aim to raise £1.5 million to help pay for urgent repairs to churches, chapels, and meeting houses.

Currently, there are 887 churches on Historic England’s ‘Heritage At Risk Register’ and urgently need external funding support to deal with repairs to roofs, stonework, spires and towers.

Many of the churches on Historic England’s ‘Heritage at Risk Register’ will be open for ‘Ride+Stride’, including St Mary, Kemp Town, Brighton, a magnificent neo-Gothic Victorian red brick church; and the ancient Saxon-origin church of St Clement, Burnham Overy, Norfolk.

A great day out discovering England’s churches

As well as raising much needed funds to stop churches from crumbling, ‘Ride+Stride’ is the perfect opportunity to discover England’s beautiful and historic churches and chapels.

Highlights include the Grade 1 listed Collegiate Church of St Mary, Stafford, on the site of the Anglo-Saxon chapel of St Bertelin; and St Lawrence, West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, which has a starring role in the new Bridget Jones film.

The majority of churches will be open between 10am and 6pm, with many running guided tours and providing locally made refreshments including cakes, home grown plums and ginger beer.

The Ride and Stride website at www.rideandstrideuk.org gives full details of how to take part in the event and includes an interactive map with information about the best churches to visit on 10 September

Bear Grylls 

Bear Grylls, Author, Television presenter, Chief Scout and national ‘Ride+Stride’ supporter said: “Many historic churches, chapels and meeting houses are battling to survive. Roofs leak, ancient timbers rot and medieval stonework crumbles. Now you can help by joining the ‘Ride+Stride’ adventure, a sponsored bike ride or walk discovering beautiful churches, which also raises money for their repair and preservation.”

Bike with the Bishop

In Oxfordshire, you are invited to ‘Come biking with the Bishop’ with the Right Rev Colin Fletcher, Acting Bishop of Oxford, who will be cycling 27 miles to visit 20 churches. Bishop Colin said: “Do come and join my party, I hope that all around the county, young or old, will be on their bikes and enjoying a great day out.”

Tractors a-go-go

Not everyone in Oxford is joining Bishop Colin – two vintage tractors will be visiting churches across the county. A 1964 Massey Fergusson 35X and a 1953 David Brown Cropmaster are heading to 25 churches from St Mary’s Great Milton, to St Mary’s Chalgrove. They’re taking along a tow rope as well – just in case.

Prams and buggies

People with prams and buggies can join the Ride and Stride with a brand new short walk of two-and-a-half miles designed specifically for them in Buckinghamshire, starting from St Michael and All Angels’ church, Waddesdon.

This is an older post. Please note that the information may not be accurate anymore.