Dr Gabriel Byng, Casework Officer at ChurchCare and Janet Gough, Director of ChurchCare, holding a map of the cycle routes
The Church of England has teamed up with cycling charity Sustrans to produce a series of tours linking the country’s Cathedrals and historic church buildings by bike.
The Towers and Spires series are been created to provide a new way to explore the country’s magnificent church buildings. The materials have been published by ChurchCare which supports those looking after the Church of England’s 16,000 churches and 42 Cathedrals.
The first route is based in Suffolk and has been published by ChurchCare in partnership with the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich and supported by Suffolk County Council. The 30 mile circular route beginning at St Edmundsbury Cathedral takes in 11 churches through the Suffolk countryside .
Click here to see the map. Hard copies will be available in churches, cycle shops, and Tourist Information Centres.
Janet Gough, Director of ChurchCare, said:
“I am delighted that ChurchCare is working with Sustrans and local partners in Suffolk to create their first cycle route linking St Edmundsbury Cathedral with other fine churches in Suffolk. This is an excellent initiative to make churches, often not well served by public transport, more accessible. The Church of
England is committed to improving the welcome to all visitors to church buildings and promoting sustainable transport alternatives as part of our concern for the environment.”
Martin Whitfield, Director of Sustrans Four Point Mapping, said the rides would enable people to visit fantastic buildings and have fun cycling at the same time. “We are delighted to be working with the Church of England and welcome the obvious enthusiasm for visiting church buildings using sustainable transport”.
The Rt Revd David Thomson, Acting Bishop of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, said:
“This is a great idea and it's great too that Suffolk is leading the way on this national scheme to set up cycle routes to link our magnificent cathedrals with the wonderful churches that are such a special feature of our countryside. Suffolk has some of the finest in the country: on your bike, and enjoy!”
Francesca Clarke of Suffolk County Council’s countryside access programme Discover Suffolk said:
“Suffolk is full of fascinating heritage and beautiful countryside. This cycle trail is a great way of discovering some of that heritage in a very easy-to-cycle part of the county. I’m sure all that ride the route will have a great experience.”
The launch team, including the Sub-Dean of St Edmundsbury Cathedral and representatives from Sustrans, St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese and ChurchCare, sampling one of the cycle routes and outside Great Barton Church
To read the press release on the Church of England website please click here.
The Towers and Spires cycle rides are part of ChurchCare’s on-going work to encourage more visitors to parish churches. These include #TheSpotWhere initiative, celebrating churches that were the site of an extraordinary event, and a new website to launch in April 2015 helping members of the public to find a church to visit. For more information see: www.churchcare.co.uk/about-us/campaigns/news/808-the-spot-where-the-spot-where . ChurchCare is also working with app-developers ViewPoynt to create low-cost audio guides to parish churches, see www.viewpoynt.com for more information.
The Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich covers more than 450 medieval and historic churches,
including 234 Grade I and 183 Grade II* listed buildings. They are supported and maintained by committed volunteers.
Sustrans is a leading UK charity enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day.