Caravanning with The Churches Conservation Trust
Add a little piece of history and tradition to your caravanning trips
Tuesday, 28, Jun 2016 12:52
by Jo Subramaniam
CaravanTimes spoke to The Churches Conservation Trust and discovered great caravanning spots tucked away in the heart of the UK's countryside
How often have you sat twiddling your thumbs at the dash and wondering where your next great caravan adventure will be? You might've gone to all the great sites, but perhaps you want to go somewhere different - maybe a spot nestled amongst rolling countryside views and steeped in local history with a good bit of community spirit infused into it for good measure. If that's what's on your mind, we might just have the answer.
The Churches Conservation Trust conserves over 347 old churches throughout the country, which receive over two million visitors each year and are used for much more than what they were originally intended.
The Trust's Chief Executive, Crispin Truman, explained to CaravanTimes exactly what the charity does by way of preserving the UK's most beautiful churches and why they are of great social importance today. Speaking of the churches under the Trust's care, he said: "They're some of the most beautiful historic and architecturally important buildings in the country that are no longer used by the Church of England. We save, conserve and promote them for community, arts and tourism use."
Churches under The Trust's care cover nearly every area in England, from Norfolk to Devon, and have been around for hundreds of years, if not more. Each church is packed with history, and some even boast a couple of strange stories and legends. Take St Mary's Church in Folkestone, Kent for instance, a 14th century structure which features views across the Channel of France. And if literature piques your interest, you could head down to St James' in Cooling, Kent, which served as the inspiration for Charles Dickens' Great Expectations.
For all you history buffs out there, make sure you don't miss the church of St Michael the Archangel in Norfolk, which was built by a descendant of Pocahontas and is filled with angels modelled after real women that the carver knew. You should also tick St John the Baptist off your list, built into a 14th century wall meant to defend Bristol.
It's not all crumbling walls and books with The Churches Conservation Trust though, and you could also visit one of the many stately homes, castles or local pubs around their churches according to Crispin, who commented: "I once bumped into a whole lot of caravanners doing just that; going from church to church and doing a pub lunch. A lot of people enjoy doing that sort of thing and it makes for a completely different type of caravan holiday."
He added: "It's a really great experience; you go into these buildings that have been untouched for hundreds of years, read about the history and admire the architecture. In the middle of the bustling city, it's nice to have a quiet place to go and relax in, and even learn about the local community."
And we couldn't agree more. With the Trust holding special Christmas events this festive season, such as the Stamford Christmas Tree Festival in Lincolnshire and the Lower Basildon Candlelit Christmas Concert in Berkshire, there's never been a better time to delve into this relatively unexplored area of caravanning. You can plan your visits to church sites here, so what are you waiting for? Start spreading the cheer early this year!
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