ALL 42 Church of England cathedrals are set to be linked by a new 2,000-mile loop route.

The route, which will run from Newcastle to Truro, will be launched with a relay ride from Newcastle Cathedral to coincide with the Worlds Biggest Bike Ride on Sunday, May 30.

Salisbury Cathedral will be part of legs 25 and 25 of the relay - from Winchester to Salisbury and from Salisbury to Exeter.

It is all thanks to a unique partnership between the Association of English Cathedrals, the British Pilgrimage Trust, Cycling UK and Sustrans in a new initiative to promote greener travel and mental and physical wellbeing.

Fundraising for physical and mental wellbeing

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral

The 2,000-mile Cathedrals Cycle Route is the invention of academic, entrepreneur and keen cyclist Shaun Cutler, from Northumbria University, and is designed to help us all out of lockdown with opportunities for short cycle rides between cathedrals, new partnerships and fundraising for physical and mental wellbeing activities.

Shaun and a small group of cyclists will launch the route with a relay event, Cycling With Purpose, setting out from Newcastle Cathedral, the most northerly Anglican Cathedral, on Sunday, May 30.

Shaun, who has worked with Newcastle Cathedral, the British Pilgrimage Trust, Cycling UK and Sustrans to design the 42 linked routes, said: “The Cathedrals Cycle Route is about connecting our historic cathedrals and enjoying the spaces between them.

“Now more than ever, after a year of living with the coronavirus pandemic, this is a way to support people’s mental and physical health and promote the mission of England’s cathedrals through pilgrimage, wellbeing and heritage.”

The relay ride will transport a specially commissioned baton, Olympic torch-style, around the whole route passing along to different groups of cyclists at each cathedral who can join the ride for as little or as long as they like, with a group returning 42 days later (weather permitting) having cycled every Church of England cathedral.

The relay ride will raise money for Cycling UK’s Break the Cycle appeal, which aims to help improve people's wellbeing through the charity’s aim to create a healthier, happier and cleaner world, because more people cycle.

Hopes for annual event

Winchester Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral

It is hoped that the relay ride will become an annual event and will encourage more and more people to get on their bikes this year and beyond.

Each cathedral aims to have a dedicated cycle champion to improve the "cycle-readiness" of their buildings, ensure a warm welcome for visiting cyclists and increase the number who arrive on two wheels – currently around 5 per cent.

It is also an opportunity for cathedrals to find new partnerships, promote mental and physical wellbeing and create new links to healthier activities and sustainable travel.

For more information and to see the route in full, click here.