CHURCHES in Hampshire are preparing to showcase their historic walls for an annual Ride and Stride event.

Organised by Hampshire and the Islands Historic Churches Trust (HIHCT), over 400 religious buildings in the region will be opening their doors to the public, including seven churches in Eastleigh and Southampton and 18 in Fareham and Gosport.

Visitors who wish to take part can travel by foot, bicycle, scooter, canoe, tandem or pushchair, car, or horseback to visit and explore the rich heritage and interior decor of local churches surrounded by beautiful settings.

Those joining other church-goers for the event are encouraged to raise money which will go towards saving churches, chapels and meeting houses for future generations by helping to fund urgent repairs and the installation of modern facilities.

Half of the money raised by each participant goes towards a church of their choice, who also plan their own route to attend each church.

This year’s sponsored stride event will enable people to see newly-renovated old churches after a record-breaking £65,000 was raised last year to repair and refurbish the existing churches as well as preserve them.

Donations from those participating are also supported by HIHCT, a charity who have raised £1million in funds and loans towards the upkeep of 900 church buildings representing different Christian traditions.

They have already helped to repair over 350 churches, chapels and meeting houses in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Ride and Stride takes place on Saturday, September 14 from 10am to 6pm.