HUNDREDS of volunteers from across Dorset are gearing up to pedal for their parish in this year’s annual Ride + Stride for Churches,

The annual fundraising day, organised by Dorset Historic Churches Trust (DHCT), takes place on Saturday, September 8.

Participants are set to cycle, walk and/or ride a horse to Dorset’s churches and chapels between 10am and 6pm. All ages and abilities take par as individuals, a pair or small group trying to visit as many churches as possible.

Ride + Stride for Churches will take place in many counties all over the England as county trusts hold similar events to raise much needed funds.

Riders and striders in Dorset will be raising money for the maintenance and repair of more than 300 historic churches in the county, with all sponsorship split between DHCT and nominated church or charity. There is no official route and participants build up sponsorship to visit as many as they feel able or for simply taking part.

Last year, 175 parishes in Dorset took part raising £86,000.

Simon Pomeroy, chairman of DHCT, said: “We are very much looking forward to our single fund-raising day and hope to see many people out and about enjoying the Dorset countryside, both those who are new to the event as well as our seasoned cyclists. Last year, we raised over £86,000 in sponsorship funds, supported by 175 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 we hope even more people and churches will take part this year. Let’s all get pedalling for our parishes. We will try to arrange a welcome and some refreshments in every church on September 8.”

Dorset has a wide-ranging church heritage and the event presents an opportunity for all the family to explore the history and architecture of churches, some of which are not regularly open.

Riders are recommended to plan their routes to keep off the busy main roads and all participants will be able use the Ride + Stride page on the trust’s website - - to check the mapped out locations of every church.

Since 1991, the trust has raised more than £1,000,000 from Ride + Stride for Churches.

There is often keen competition to gain the most sponsorship and since 1999, the trustees have awarded the Morshead Trophy to the parish whose efforts they consider to be the most deserving of recognition. Last year, the trophy was awarded to St John, Seaborough, whose rider Steven Loveridge rode many miles and raised more £2,700 in sponsorship.

For more information about Ride + Stride for Churches go to or look on the notice board of local churches.