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News Update
Spring Church Crawls 2014
  There are a few spare places on both these events, which will make use of a 17–seater minibus.
Wednesday, 2 April
  Starting from the Water Eaton Park and Ride north of Oxford we shall travel north to Hampton Poyle, Kirtlington, Somerton, Deddington (lunch) and then to either Barford St Michael or South Newington, Great Rollright, and (if time) Little Rollright. The plan is to have tea at Wyatts garden centre at Great Rollright.
Wednesday, 16 April
  Starting from the car park at the village hall at Uffington we shall visit Shellingford, Coleshill, where we shall have coffee, Malmesbury, where we shall visit the Abbey and have lunch, Purton, and Shrivenham.
Please contact me for costs and further information.

Spring Church Crawls 2013
  Plans are well advanced for two spring church crawls this year. Following the pattern in recent years one will take place just before before Easter and the other just after. We shall use the Uffington minibus and departure will be from Uffington village hall at 09:30hrs.
The present schedule is as follows:
Wednesday, 27 March
  Quenington, Winson, Coln Rogers, Lunch at Chedworth Farm Shop, Chedworth, Coln St Dennis. Tea at Northleach with a brief visit to the church if time (most people will have already been there).
Wednesday, 3 April
  Lechlade, Southrop, Broughton Pogges, Filkins (lunch at Cotswold Woollen Weavers), Kencot, Broadwell.
The price for both is £37.00 per person (lunch not included).
Please contact me if interested.
In the summer – probably early August as in recent years – the plan is to undertake a church crawl farther afield. Having been to Herefordshire the last two summers I have Shropshire in sight for this August. One advantage is that there are many fine churches to visit en route both going there and returning. A disadvantage is distance. Great distances mean higher costs, especially if we use a minibus rather than cars this year. Last year the cost was £50.00 per head for the three days, plus hotel and meal costs. If we were to go to Shropshire it would be nearer £80.00 per head. If we were to use a minibus you would have to add between £50.00 per head to that figure, depending on whether we have the usual 12 or a full minibus (15 plus driver and me) Against that drivers have to offset petrol/diesel costs and wear and tear on the car.
So it is a fine balance, and it may not happen. However I’d be really interested to hear the views of anyone interested in such a trip. After seven (or is it eight?) years running these church crawls I am still of the view that we should be as experimental as possible. New ideas and new ways of doing tings mean (God willing!) we shall continue with the FUN!

Crawling – A Case for an Olympic Sport
  After the success of our two–day Welsh Borderlands church crawl last August we are going to do something very similar at the beginning of August 2012.
Despite requests to make it last from 27 July to 12 August and cover the entire period of a Lesser Event in East London I have extended it to only three days.
Utter exhaustion was the general verdict after just two last year. But this year we have all been in regular training following the three spring church crawls, two of which took place in glorious pre–Easter weather.
So in early August ten exceptionally fit and fortunate folk, all in the latter half of their life expectancy, will be meeting somewhere in The Cotswolds, primed and ready for the start. The only condition is that for the three days of what is to be a extremely rapid Crawl they they pay no heed whatever to any sporting events taking place in our capital.
Wednesday, 1 August
  We are planning to visit, if we have time, Hailes, Sudeley, Deerhurst and Stoke Orchard, all in Gloucestershire, on the way to our hotel in Ross on 1st August.
Thursday, 2 August
  We are venturing into deepest Herefordshire. The plan is to go to Madley, Abbey Dore, St Margaret’s, Clodock and Rowlestone. Those that have any energy left may wish to visit Kilpeck on the way back to Ross.
Friday, 3 August
  A visit to the glorious parish church in the attractive Herefordshire market town of Ledbury, and then to lunch in the town. Those with the energy levels of athletes may then wish to finish the trip with a visit to Tewkesbury Abbey.
If all this succeeds like it did in 2011 there will be a strong case to make church crawling an Olympic sport...

Programme for Spring 2012
  As our minibus tour starting from Uffington this spring was a great success the plan is to do another Berks/Wilts tour starting from Uffington at a date to be fixed next spring. It is likely to be in late March/early April, with a tour in the Oxfordshire Chilterns (minibus again) following shortly after.
For further details of these two planned events please email me.

Programme for Summer 2011
Wednesday, 27 July
  Four North Oxfordshire churches: Chipping Norton, Swerford, Great Tew and Bloxham.
Wednesday–Thursday, 3–4 August
  Something different!
This August 12 brave souls - all experienced church crawlers – will meet in four cars at Bibury, Glos., then drive in the four cars to Elkstone, Glos. We then drive round Gloucester to two churches in the Leaden Valley, followed by tea at Newent, then the church at Dymock.
After a stay at The Kings Head in Ross-on-Wye we embark the next day along the Wye Valley to Hoarwithy and Brockhampton, followed by Much Marcle, where we shall have lunch, and the two churches at Kempley.
This makes a neat circuit, and we shall again take tea in Dymock before dispersing in our different directions.
As Bibury (apart from being a first rate church) proved a good meeting point for our cars from West London, Amersham, Aylesbury and Abingdon, this is a pattern we may repeat next summer if it proves a success.
Ryecote Chapel, Oxfordshire, Spring 2011
Ryecote Chapel, Oxfordshire, Spring 2011

Programme for Spring 2011
Wednesday, 30 March
  Tour starts at Uffington and goes into Berks and Wilts, taking in Lambourne and Ramsbury.
Wednesday, 6 April
  This will be a repeat of the very successful CHISELHAMPTON-RYCOTE-THAME-CHALGROVE tour that we did in the smaller minibus last July.
This time there are 16 seats available and I am asking those wishing to go if they can be available both days and state their preferred day. At the time of writing we are able to visit all four churches on both these days. However this may change.
The tour will start at 09:30hrs at the Water Eaton Park and Ride north of Oxford and the price will be £38.00. This will include the £2.50 entry fee for Ryecote. Lunch will be in Thame.
Cholsey 2010: We had a full minibus for both days of our annual August church crawl.
Cholsey 2010: We had a full minibus for both days
of our annual August church crawl.

Programme for Spring and
Summer 2010
Wednesday, 31 March
  Pyrton, Stoke Talmage, Adwell, Wheatfield, Lewknor and South Weston. Price for day (excluding lunch) £35.00.
Clive explains the finer points of a tomb chest inside the church of The Assumption at Twyford, near Bicester. This was one of the ports of call on our July 2009 three day church crawl.
Clive explains the finer points of a tomb chest
inside the church of The Assumption at Twyford,
near Bicester. This was one of the ports of call
on our July 2009 three day church crawl.
Wednesday, 14 April
  As usual we shall start from one of the Oxford Park and Rides.
The plan (subject to last minutee alteration) is to visit churches at South Leigh, Minster Lovell, Shilton and Fyfield, with a lunch stop in the Windrush valley. Course full, but no waiting list. Price excluding lunch: £35.00.
Thursday, 29 July
  I am planning an additional church crawl of slightly different nature on this day, if I can get the numbers. I shall need 12 to make it viable and so far have five names. If you wish to know more please phone or email me. I anticipate the day will again be Oxfordshire–based (starting at Oxford as usual) The cost will be slightly more than usual, but not more than £40.00.
Wednesday–Thursday, 4–5 August
  Summer two–day Oxfordshire church crawl. Details to be announced.
Our resident scratch dial expert and demon driver John Spargo in reflective mode.
Our resident scratch dial expert and demon driver
John Spargo in reflective mode.
“Clive has that winning formula of combining small country churches with the occasional town one. He also usually manages to get a visiting speaker, a ‘mystery guest’ or a professional guide to add to the mix of the day. Somehow he also always manages to take account of all the needs of his clientele – ages vary enormously – and inevitably finds us somewhere nice for lunch. The only complaint is that the programme is always so packed that there’s never time for tea!”
~ Dr Angela Bhattacharya, Amersham
“Clive’s church crawls are always well thought out and immaculately planned, with a wealth of interesting information and a good balance of churches. Clive is also an expert in organising reliable transport and very acceptable food and comfort stops – always a happy day!”
~ Carole Fryer, Aylesbury
“I have just enjoyed three marvellous consecutive Wednesdays on Clive’s one day Church Crawls. I have lived in Oxfordshire for twenty years and love exploring but on each of the days have been introduced to churches and villages that I had never visited before. Not only have I learnt much that will greatly enhance future trips but also have had met some interesting kindred spirits on all of the trips and had a thoroughly good time. The organization and planning of the days was excellent. I shall be back for more.”
~ Mrs Pam Stuart, Abingdon

Programme For Summer 2010
For full details of Church Crawls in 2010 watch this space!

Programme For Summer 2009
Our spring programme of one–day church crawls using a minibus was a great success, so here are more details of what to expect in July and August 2009.
Students gathering back at the minibus.
Students gathering back at the minibus.
The dates, as already announced, are July 27–29 and Aug 3–5. As in previous years we shall pick up the minibus and return to one of the Oxford Park and Rides. Every day we concentrate on a different area of the county, with churches and watering holes chosen and reconnoitered well in advance. Usually we visit four churches in a day, which most people on the tours reckon is enough. I always like to leave a little room for manoeuvre in the afternoons. We have on occasions been known to slip in a fifth if it is close and there is time. On other occasions, such as this spring’s Cotswolds tour, when we devoted the entire afternoon to the wonderful church at Fairford, we visit only three churches.
Members of the group taking a walk round the church of St. Peter, Hanwell in north Oxfordshire on a breezy April day this year.
Members of the group taking a walk round the
church of St. Peter, Hanwell in north Oxfordshire
on a breezy April day this year.
The precise itinerary is often subject to change up until the last minute. This is to fit in with local speakers who may or may not be able to manage certain days: it is also to fit in with places to eat (everyone who has ever been on these tours likes a good lunch for rest and recuperation!). We also sometimes have to make last minute changes due to inconvenient happenings crop up quite fast – namely funerals.
The weather has also been known to have causes a few last minute changes – especially in July 2007!
However, for those who are perpetually curious (one of the hallmarks of a good church crawler!) churches that I have already ‘reccied’ with this summer’s tours in mind already include:
Stanton Harcourt
Stanton St John
Minster Lovell
Black Bourton
There will be a fair sprinkling of these will be on the list. For others – keep an eye on the website.
I also have in my sights Chipping Norton, Charlbury (it’s been identified as a Saxon minster), and (over the border in Bucks) Hillesden and Chetwode. Both have wonderful glass.

Course participants inspecting a church buttress.
Course participants inspecting a church buttress.
If we get to Uffington it would also be nice to get to Langford (I haven’t taken a group for four years) again and there are some wonderful monuments (and also an excellent coffee shop!) at Faringdon (if we can get in the church, which is normally locked.) Lechlade is also a fine church and only just down the road from there…

So you can see – we are spoilt for choice and it is always challenging to make all three days a good circular route with varied churches and somewhere nice for lunch.
Members of the group on one of the April 2009 tours examining mysterious exterior markings at a church in the Cotswolds.
Members of the group on one of the April 2009
tours examining mysterious exterior markings
at a church in the Cotswolds.
As my regulars know, I also like to spring the odd surprise – these usually take the form of ‘mystery guests’ who might know far more than me about a particular church. I have a few of these up my sleeve for this summer.
These ideas may well change, so please do not hesitate to contact me if you wish to know more or are keen on coming.
It is sometimes possible to fit in people for just two days, or even one, in which case I charge £35 per day as opposed to between £90 and £100 for the full (exhausting!) three days. I have to say, however, that it makes it a lot easier if people can come for all three days. I hope to follow this year’s successful programme of three spring one day crawls with three similar one–day outings in the spring of 2010.
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