Northamptonshire Historic Churches Trust

Ride and Stride 2020 – certainly a strange year!

A Great Big Thank you to all who took part in September 2020 and helped to make it another record-breaking year, despite all the restrictions and challenges!

The Grand Total raised was £39,773


In the Spring we asked the question - Should we go ahead? 

We knew that it was vitally necessary to raise money for the NHCT as, without normal fund-raising events, churches would need even more grants. Also, many churches had not been able to have their normal fundraising events so used the Ride and Stride as a source of extra income. This resulted in more churches than usual raising money. In the end it was all a great success, thanks to the determination and support of all those churches who did everything they could to take part in the event.

Most of the communication this year was by email and via the website which meant that we could have much more of a dialogue with Local Organisers as restrictions changed and churches were allowed or not allowed to open.

The only thing we could guarantee was that there would be a church there!White stone church

StickersWelcome deskParticipants were expecting many churches to be closed, but were delighted that so many found ways round it and still extended a warm welcome from their porches with generous refreshments outside. The sunny day meant that many churches took the opportunity to have socially distanced events in churchyards.




As ever we would like to thank all those who work hard to make Ride and Stride in Northamptonshire the success that it is particularly in this very difficult year:

  • The enthusiasm of Local Organisers who kept us informed of their church arrangements as they changed and persuaded folk to ride and stride and find sponsors
  • Our team of Area Organisers who each have a group of Local Organisers, worked tirelessly, firstly in the spring collating information about which churches will be open, and then sending out all the information to the Local Organisers.

Mike Simpson and bikeLastly thank you to all the Riders and Striders and all their sponsors.  Without them we would not have reached that record breaking total!

Of course, with all the restrictions placed on people’s movements this year a number of churches were unable to join in – let’s hope that next year we can return to normality!




Ride and Stride - a different year by Mick Burns, Barnwell Local Organiser

Having been the local organiser at Barnwell for the past 9 years I approached this year’s Ride & Stride with some trepidation, mainly due to the ongoing restrictions imposed and the uncertainty of the practical side of the access to the churches.

I had no need to worry, people and places responded accordingly and the churches visited were either manned and very welcoming or provided very good registration facilities. What a great day, sun shining and a cooling breeze, harder work pedalling uphill against the wind but easier going downhill with it.

Stoke DoyleThis year’s route took in some new churches to visit- Stoke Doyle with the largest cobweb ever seen across the Nave, preserved until services can resume as normal.

Flask and wheelA field of alpacas laying in the shade of the trees and onto Pilton whose church stands away in a field where we met with other ride and striders but these were on horseback. Next was Wadenhoe set majestically in a field at the top of a hill overlooking the beautiful Nene valley, then through a field of Jacobs Flock sheep that wanted to follow us.



AldwincleAldwincle with two churches one of which was in use for "champing" (camping in churches), what a great idea keeping old churches in use.

Calling in at Achurch whose church is surrounded by trees and woods a completely different setting from all the others.

Gate and posterA long haul uphill to Clopton where a picnic on straw bales was much welcomed and enjoyed. Thurning whose church is set in the village and then Luddington in the Brook, a lovely little church hidden across a field with only sheep and horses as neighbours. Hemington set right on the road side a little way from the village houses and then homeward bound to Barnwell where both the church and chancel were manned for the day.




Ride and Stride in the year of Covid from Burton Latimer Local Organiser – Nicholas Loakes

I set off from Burton Latimer on my own at 8.40am on a beautiful sunny morning. We had decided not to cycle as a group in view of the Covid19 situation. My wife prepared a picnic lunch and tea for me as we were expecting limited refreshments on route. I decided to go westwards initially, taking in 17 villages with the furthest point west being Brixworth’s marvellous Saxon church. At Pytchley I met the wonderful Rosemary Eady who has manned this church for as long as I can remember. 6 of us arrived at the same time which was the largest gathering I encountered all day. At Old I met a very nice lady who used to manage several British Shoe Corporation shops, and as I had been involved in shoe manufacturing before I retired, we had a great conversation about shoes and shoe retailing, and  she told me she had sold many pairs of our shoes during her working life!

I had my picnic lunch in the porch of Sywell church. There was nobody manning this church; just the Register was there, so I relaxed in the shade of the porch and enjoyed the lovely view over the surrounding countryside.

My Eastern circuit started at Finedon church where I arrived at the same time as several magnificently dressed wedding guests. I felt very out of place, but there was a gentleman sitting on a bench on the edge of the graveyard who was looking out for cyclists, so I didn’t need to get too near the church and wedding party. I had my tea sitting outside Woodford church. This church is at the bottom of a very steep hill, but the view from the bench outside the porch must be one of the finest in the county.

My furthest point east was Gt. Addington, and this circuit included the parish church of Grafton Underwood. Here the gentleman manning the register asked me if I would like the see their three new stained glass windows which have only recently been installed in the chancel. They are designed by the renowned artist Thomas Denny, and are quite magnificent. This was the only church I actually entered during the day, but what a treat, and the sun was shining through the back of one of these windows which made it absolutely stunning.

So  there you have it. …

59 miles cycled and 28 churches visited.

The weather was perfect and the event very well organised. Social distancing was maintained everywhere, and I had some delightful conversations with helpers throughout the day. 

Let’s hope lots of money has been raised for this excellent cause!

Nicholas Loake, Burton Latimer

Preston Capes

Dave MaddenKeen runner, Dave Madden, aimed to run a half marathon but in fact covered 21 miles visiting eight churches. He was accompanied by his son Archie on a bicycle as safety out-rider. In total, 11 riders and striders took part resulting in a terrific uptake for sponsorship of just over £1200 for NHCT and St Peter and St Paul, Preston Capes.










St Michaels and All Angels St Michaels welcome text
St Andrews Kettering