An enthusiastic walker has just completed the remarkable challenge of visiting all 900 churches in Norfolk.
Retired Aylsham accountant Graeme Johnston, who is a member of the Norfolk Churches Trust, covered more than 3,500 miles on his marathon tours of the county’s churches, including redundant ones and ruins.
There were some challenges – for example, visiting the four Breckland churches on the Stanta training area. As a member, he was able to join an official NCT tour to see the battle area’s churches at West Tofts, Langford, Stanford and Tottington.
He added his last church just a few days ago when he went to the west Norfolk fens to Welney church.
Mr Johnston, 75, who retired from his accountancy business five years ago, wanted to keep fit and active. It was a chance visit to one of Norfolk’s smallest churches, St Peter & St Paul, Bittering, near Litcham, which fired his imagination. Using Ordnance Survey maps and reliable websites, notably Simon Knott’s, he continued his county-wide mission.
Aiming to visit three or four churches every Sunday on a typical walk of between 15 and 18 miles, he encountered many gems. His favourites include St Mary’s, Houghton on the Hill, near Swaffham, and St Felix, Babingley, on the Sandringham estate, Godwick, near Fakenham; St Michael, Broome, in south Norfolk and All Saints, Waterden, near South Creake, which has just been restored.
Over the past few years, he has accumulated hundreds of church guides and managed, wherever possible, to sign the visitors’ book. And his biggest complaint: So many churches are locked on Sundays.
And to visit more Norfolk churches, why not join the trust’s annual bike, stride or drive on Saturday, September 14 and raise funds for this heritage charity. Details on the website.