Exploring historic churches by bike
With access to the outdoors more important than ever it's the perfect opportunity to explore historic churches using cycle trails. CCT Volunteer Ian Wyld has recently shared two cycle routes with some magnificent churches along the way featuring Norman round towers, medieval stained glass and thirteenth century wall paintings.
Ian tells us more about putting together the routes:
'"So why don’t you put together a couple of cycle routes that include churches?" It seemed like a good idea. The problem is that just about any cycle ride in the English countryside of 10 miles or more will go past several churches. You may see the church as you cycle through the village, but more likely you will pass a small lane with a sign saying Church Lane.
A few years ago I started cycling in order to improve my fitness. I live near Marlborough in Wiltshire and there is quite a lot of very English countryside around here. I started taking my camera for those occasions where chance presented something special. Maybe the sun shining through the clouds or maybe some wildlife. The ripples on the surface of a river perhaps, or swallows flying along the road. Or perhaps a church. One of my other hobbies is bellringing so perhaps I could take photos of the local churches that had ringable bells. Then I started looking at the other churches, particularly those that looked as though they had bells that could be made ringable, or perhaps once had bells that could be rung. Then I just started collecting churches. My word, aren’t there a lot of them.
Slowly but surely I found myself becoming interested in churches. To date I have photographed over 100 churches within about a 20 mile radius of Marlborough. And I haven’t got them all yet. Most of these churches have been closed due to covid, so I will have to revisit them at some point. Many are substantially medieval or even Anglo Saxon. Many are Victorian. The Victorians built and restored a lot of churches. Some are grand, some are more modest. But the modest ones often contain surprises. East Shefford looks like an old farm building where the local farmer might store his tractor. Inside are medieval wall paintings, a tomb with carved figures and angels and more. There is a great deal so see and learn.'
Concerning the two routes he's documented for us he says
'For most people these routes will be too far away from where they live to be accessible. But they demonstrate what is out there. For those wishing to see what is local to them, google is your friend. Also the churches will show up on google maps. Who knows what treasures you have cycled past in your area.'
View the routes here: