A SPONSORED ride or walk which will see people from all over Gloucestershire travelling between churches, exploring and enjoying the countryside, returns this autumn.

Hundreds of churches will be opening their doors on Saturday, September 14 to visitors travelling on foot, by bicycle, horse or car to raise money as part of Ride and Stride.

This national event is run in this area by the Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust, and aims to encourage people to visit the region's churches and raise sponsorship to help fund their upkeep.

People can take part by being sponsored to travel between churches.

Chair of the trust, Nicholas Talbot-Rice said: “Ride and Stride is a major fundraising event in our calendar at the trust.

"It’s wonderful to see people coming together to have fun while exercising and raising money to look after these incredible buildings.

"Any church that does not take part we’d urge to join in – not only can you help your community get fit, but you can also raise precious funds.

"We had a brilliant turn out last year and we’re hoping to top it this year and raise even more money.”

"You don’t need to go to a church to join in – many people help just to raise funds to ensure these local icons are preserved for the whole community."

Any funds raised are split between participants’ chosen churches and the trust.

Churches across the counties of Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire can apply to the trust for grants.

Over the past 30 years, Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust has given £2,615,350 in grants to 467 churches, funding important projects including roof repairs, restorations and improved disabled access.

Full details about getting involved are at ghct.org.uk/ride-and-stride.