As the leaves start to turn and the summer temperatures fade, there’s a chance this month to enjoy a walk or cycle ride to visit the county’s beautiful churches.

Suffolk Historic Churches Trust’s 38th annual Ride and Stride takes place on Saturday, September 14 and hundreds of people are expected to join in.

Picture: SHCT

Old Felixstowe Parish will have each of its churches – St Peter and St Paul, St Andrew’s and St Nicholas – open for the event from 9am to 5pm to welcome visitors.

While some will be challenging themselves to visit as many churches as possible, entrants can visit as few or many as they feel able to – with the emphasis on fun and fundraising for the places of worship.

The day also provides an opportunity to look round some of the area’s extremely interesting churches, which are some of its most historic buildings. Thirty counties are taking part in the day – and people can cross borders if they wish!

Once focussed fully on cyclists, the event is these days open to walkers, too, and offers the chance to take friends and family on an urban or a countryside stroll.

There is a handy pocket-sized booklet available featuring suggestions for 30 walks in the Colneys Deanery connecting the rural churches, ranging from just over a mile to around four-and-a-half miles.

For Felixstowe and the Trimleys the booklet has a suggested route that takes in all 20 churches in the town and twin villages of nine-and-a-half miles, which should take just under three-and-a-half hours, and directions for shorter routes to visit fewer churches.

The booklet will be available at participating churches for a suggested £1 donation for church funds and the walks can be taken all year round.

A new initiative for this year aims to help the environment – with walkers offered the ability to litter pick on their journey. Black sacks and rubber gloves will be available for those who want to do so.

There are 30 churches open across the Deanery – and more than 670 of all denominations across the county.

Walkers and riders are asked to gather sponsorship or donations with the money being shared by Trust for its support of historic churches needing repairs and a church of the entrant’s choice.

Most churches offers drinks or light refreshments, and excellent value lunches and snacks will be available from the Brownies at Kirton Church Hall from 11am to 3pm.

For sponsorship forms click here and lists of churches open are here.

Suffolk Historic Churches Trust

Picture: SHCT

Article: Richard Cornwell

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