Spring is the ideal time to visit the Churches Conservation Trust’s rural Lincolnshire churches.
Not only are the churchyards brimming with wildflowers and blossom but 14 of the churches, all within a few miles of Louth, have benefitted from a new arts, tourism and volunteering initiative – the ArChWay project.
In the first two and a half years they have increased summer visitors to the churches by 42 per cent, recruited 73 new regular volunteers, developed an arts trail employing four professional artists, delivered a series of historic church coach tours and worked with volunteers to put on 37 events.
The new visitor attractions include -
An Arts Trail which features contemporary glass panels, photography, poems, soundscapes on MP3 players, and digital links via QR codes
Information on local places to eat in four Saints & Sinners leaflets
Cycling routes to download linking the churches and passing through spectacular countryside
A new interpretive booklet Adventures through ArChWay
Brown tourism signs to make the churches easier to find
A continuing programme of community events: special church openings for the West Lindsey Churches Festival on May 18 and 19; the second Altered Art event with Rhubarb Theatre at South Somercotes on May 18 and 19; the ArChWay Arts Festival at several of the churches on June 1 and 2 and 8 and 9 and the second Traditional Craft Skills Fair at Skidbrooke on July 13 and 14.
The ArChWay churches are the Lincolnshire CCT churches: Burwell St Michael, Goltho St George, Great Steeping All Saints Old Church, Haltham on Bain St Benedict, Haugham All Saints, Kingerby St Peter, Little Cawthorpe St Helen, North Cockerington St Mary, Saltfleetby All Saints, Skidbrooke St Botolph, South Somercotes St Peter, Theddlethorpe All Saints, Waithe St Martin and Yarburgh St John the Baptist.
The churches are all open daily (apart from Great Steeping and Theddlethorpe where keyholders are nearby) and entry is free of charge.