The Board of Trustees at Northumbria Historic Churches Trust has decided to stop organising the annual Steeplechase to raise funds that are divided between the participating churches and the Trust.  Whilst it has been a successful and enjoyable activity in years gone by, the situation is now different.  The participation and funds raised have dwindled.  And, perhaps even more pertinent, almost all churches struggle to raise the funds needed to keep themselves going.  So to raise funds for a third party such as NHCT seems counter productive.

The Steeplechase is part of a national event Ride and Stride. Ride and Stride will continue in other areas and will remain on the second Saturday in September.  The date is chosen to be coincident with Heritage Open Days.  So locally many churches will be open on the second Saturday in September and visitors will be most welcome.  Donations may, of course, be made direct to the church visited.  Northumbria Historic Churches Trust will be happy to promote on its website any activities which churches are planning on that day.

NHCT will continue with its core role of making grants to help with the maintenance of churches in our region.  Donations to us are, as ever, welcome and may be made by visiting the How to Donate pages of our website.




But there remain a significant number who want to visit our wonderful churches and we hope that this number will grow, not least amongst the younger generation. So from this year the Steeplechase will no longer be a sponsored event. Rather, churches that choose to be open for visitors, as many do anyway as part of Heritage Open days, do not need to sign forms or even have anyone present on the day. Those individuals visiting churches may make a donation to the church they visit and/or to the Northumbria Historic Churches Trust. This also has the benefit to both participating churches and the Trust in reducing the administrative burden associated with sponsorship arrangements. 

To enter the event churches are invited to register with the organizers by email to the Steeplechase Coordinator Dr Margaret Stewart at and then printing the poster that may be downloaded from the website for display in your local community.  

For those churches or individuals who wish to make a donation to the Northumbria Historic Churches Trust, please visit the How to Donate section of the website.    


St Oswald’s Church, Heavenfield, on the site of the Battle of Heavenfield AD 635, an ancient historic place, and open for the 2016 steeplechase


St Andrew’s Church Corbridge held a wonderful flower festival which coincided with the 2016 steeplechase

St Alban's Earsdon 12

Visitors and hosts at St Alban’s Earsdon in 2015

Low Newton St Mary's

St Mary’s Low Newton participated in 2015

Holy Trinity Embleton 5

The beautiful interior of Holy Trinity, Embleton



Some Steeplechase participants with their transport!