Walks And Walking – Churches Conservation Trust Top 10 Church Walks
I always find that after miles of walking finding a beautiful church in a rural setting is like finding an oasis in the desert. Most of the walking routes I plan always seem to include a visit to a church and you’ll see from the majority of church walks that I have posted on this website that there are many photographs of churches and chapels.
So, if you like a good church walk as much as I do then here are some of the most tranquil ambling spots to visit as compiled by the Churches Conservation Trust (CTT). Pull up a pew and take sanctuary in an ancient historic church preserved by the CTT, and listen to the calming hum of nature pass you by…
St Stephen’s Coastal Walk – North Yorkshire
St Stephen’s has stood majestically upon Robin Hood’s Bay since 1821. Echoing its ocean views, the church is engulfed in nautical history with graves bestowing tragic tales of forlorn seamen lost at sea. Walk from St Stephens’s church to Robin Hood’s Bay and see the stunning coastal views which are great for families wanting to combine culture and entertainment.
Expect to see: Breath-taking coastal and seaside views
Walking Distance: 1.2 miles, 26 minutes
Walk Suitable for: Families
St Stephen’s Church Walks – Fylingdales, North Yorkshire, YO22 4PN
St Michael’s Historical Countryside Walk – Shropshire
This hidden gem sits in a quiet, idyllic valley west of Bridgnorth. With its stone walls and moss-covered roof this Norman church looks as much a part of the landscape as the trees that surround it. St Michael’s Church is located on an Elizabethan estate and is less than half a mile away from Upton Cressett Hall and Gardens, one of Britain’s most exquisite Tudor Houses. This walk is perfect for heritage enthusiasts and picnics.
Expect to see: Charming village scenes in a traditional countryside setting
Walking distance: 0.5 miles, 15 minutes from St Michael’s to Upton Cressett Hall and Gardens
Walk suitable for: Romantic amblers
St Michael’s Church Walks – Upton Cressett, Shropshire, WV16 6UH
St Michael’s & St Martin’s Riverside Meander – Gloucestershire
This picture postcard medieval church is nestled on the edge of the river Leach. Perfect for a leisurely walk along the banks of the meandering river to Horseshoe Lake, St Michael’s & St Martin’s is just a stone’s throw from its sister church at Eastleach Turville on the opposite bank.
Expect to see: Idyllic scenery that inspired poet John Keble
Walking distance: 3.9 Miles, 1 hour 18 minutes
Walk suitable for: More ambitious walkers
St Martin’s & St Michael’s Church Walks – Eastleach Martin, Gloucestershire, GL7
St Andrew’s Hilltop to Reservoir Walk – Northumberland
Perched on Grey Mare Hill, keen hikers and photographers alike will appreciate the ambitious 289m climb to reach St Andrew’s, Shotley, and its rewarding breath-taking views.
Expect to see: Awe-inspiring panoramic views
Walking distance: 3.4 miles, 1 hour 11 minutes
Walk suitable for: Hikers
St Andrew’s Church Walks – Shotley, Northumberland, DH8 9SJ
All Saints’ Bluebell Woodlands Walk – Oxfordshire
All Saints’ Church, Nuneham Courtney is a jewel in the heart of the Nuneham Park House grounds. Overlooking the Thames, the 1760s church is a monument to wealth and taste, with dazzling Italian fittings, magnificent memorial sculptures and busts. Just a 30 minute walk away is Bluebell Wood, an enchanted forest filled with springtime flowers.
Expect to see: A carpet of bluebells and wildflower meadows in late April and May
Walking distance: 1.6 miles, 32 minutes from All Saints’ to Bluebell Wood
Walk suitable for: Families
All Saints’ Church Walks – Nuneham Courtenay, Oxfordshire, OX44 9PQ
St Mary’s Norman Town Walk – Kent
Dating back as far as the Saxon era, St Mary’s, Higham, is steeped in history from Norman influences to Benedictine nuns. The church is only four miles from the centre of Rochester for visitors wishing to combine country and town visits with a pleasant Kent walk across the marshlands. Continue the Norman theme and stop by the impressive fortress of Rochester Castle.
Expect to see: Ancient Norman ruins along your way.
Walking distance: 4.6 Miles, 1 hour 33 minutes – St Mary’s Church to Rochester Castle
Suitable for: Active walkers
St Mary’s Church Walks – Higham, Rochester, Kent, ME3 7LS
St Mary’s Nature Walk – Hampshire
This dazzling and colourful Victorian jewel of a church overwhelms the senses. A truly exhilarating building, tall and imposing, St Mary’s, Itchen Stoke was inspired by the soaring elegance of 13th-century Sainte Chapelle in Paris, chapel of French kings. Walk alongside the exquisite Alresford sluices to nearby Old Alresford Pond, a medieval oasis well worth investigating in this gorgeous Hampshire walk.
Expect to see: Otters and wildfowl
Walking Distance: 2.2 Miles, 43 Minutes
Suitable for: Families
St Mary’s Church Walks – Itchen Stoke, Hampshire, SO24 0QU
St Mary’s Rural Walk – Somerset
If legend is to be believed, St Mary’s, Stocklinch Ottersey, and close by St Magdalene’s were built by two sisters vying for the affections of their local vicar. St Mary’s stands on an old water source, one of Somerset’s many healing wells, and is an hour’s stroll away from Barrington Court, a National Trust Tudor House with stunning grounds and a fascinating past making it a Somerset walk to remember.
Expect to see: Wonderful tombs and monuments
Walking distance: 2.3 Miles, 48 Minutes
Suitable for: Families
St Mary’s Church Walks – Stocklinch Ottersey, Somerset, TA19 9JN
St Mary’s Stately Walk – Hampshire
This prairie church is said to be all that remains of the Norman Gains Castle. Take in Mottisfont Estate, a glorious National Trust property and gallery set in beautiful riverside gardens, the village of King’s Sorbonne and stately Compton Park.
Expect to see: Countryside vistas that inspired Jane Austen
Walking distance: 6.1 miles, 2 hours
Suitable for: Active walkers
St Mary’s Church Walks – Ashley, Kings Somborne, Stockbridge, Hampshire, SO20 6RJ
St Peter’s Classic Cambridge Walk – Cambridge
Ideally located for a day out in Cambridge, this simple building is a haven of tranquillity from the busy streets around it. Walk the outskirts of the city and take in all that Cambridge has to offer from stunning views of the river to the historic university buildings.
Expect to see: Coe Fen meadowland and River Cam
Walking distance: 2.5 miles, 50 minutes
Suitable for: Families and sightseers
St Peter’s Church Walks – Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB3 0AJ
About the Churches Conservation Trust
Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) is the national charity protecting historic churches at risk. The charity has saved over 340 beautiful buildings which attract almost 2 million visitors a year.
Established under Ecclesiastical Law on 1 April 1969 the charity receives its churches in the form of ‘vesting’s’ from the Church Commissioners. All CCT’s churches remain consecrated and are often used for occasional worship.
CCT works with local people to bring historic churches back into the heart of the community and use as a social, tourism, educational or cultural resource. CCT’s care of Grade I and II buildings has given it an international reputation in heritage conservation and regeneration.
Chairman of the Trust is Loyd Grossman OBE FSA, who was appointed in 2007. Crispin Truman is Chief Executive.