IT will soon be time to saddle up or get on your bike for the annual Ride+Stride event.

Hundreds of volunteers from across Dorset are gearing up to pedal for their parish church at this year’s event, which takes place on Saturday September 9.

The annual fundraising day, organised locally by Dorset Historic Churches Trust (DHCT), invites participants to cycle, walk and even ride a horse to Dorset’s churches and chapels between 10am-6pm.

The family day out will be celebrated all over the country, where DHCT’s affiliated county trusts will be holding similar events to raise much needed funds.

There is no official route and participants seek sponsorship to visit as many as they feel able to, or for simply taking part.

Riders and striders will be raising money for the maintenance and repair of Dorset’s historic churches, with all sponsorship split between DHCT and their nominated church.

Chairman of DHCT Simon Pomeroy said: “We are very much looking forward to this year’s event and hope to see many people out and about enjoying the Dorset countryside on the day, both those who are new to the event as well as our seasoned cyclists. Last year, we raised over £81,000 in sponsorship funds, with 200 churches taking part.

“Without the vital support of the community we couldn’t continue the work we do to help preserve the county’s churches and, this year, we hope even more people will take part. We’ll all be pedalling for our parish and can’t wait to welcome everyone on the 9th September.”

Riders and striders can make their way around more than 300 churches across towns and villages, while stopping off at local pubs and village greens for lunch and a well-earned rest.

Since 1991, the trust has raised more than £1m from the Ride+Stride event, formerly known as the Great Cycle Ride.

For more information about the Ride+Stride, contact Anna Butler (Ride+Stride Co-ordinator) on 01305 260004 or email or visit the DHCT website