THE national charity for protecting historic churches at risk has launched a new heritage trail which feature’s , St John the Baptist church in Inglesham near Lechlade.

The Churches Conservation Trust,has partnered with VisitWiltshire to set up the trail which includes three other churches in Wiltshire as well as pubs and hotels, in a new project designed to get more people visiting churches.

The Trust’s 21 churches in Wiltshire are open as free heritage attractions, many of which represent almost 1,000 years of English history and together attract over 38,000 visitors a year.

As part of a drive to boost visitors to these fascinating historic buildings, the charity and VisitWiltshire have matched four of its most idyllic countryside churches with four outstanding lunch venues to make a special day out or short break for locals and tourists alike.

Katrina Hurford, National Marketing Manager at The Churches Conservation Trust, explains: “Our churches have a lot to offer in the way of nourishment for the eyes, ears and soul, but nothing in the way of more practical nourishment! With these new partnerships each pairing provides opportunities to explore the Wiltshire countryside by foot, bike or car, to discover hidden gems offering irreplaceable examples of architecture, archaeology and art, and to enjoy some of the finest produce Wiltshire has to offer, expertly presented. We hope it will be a winning combination.”

David Andrews, CEO at VisitWiltshire, says: “We’re delighted to be launching this new Saints and Sinners Trail, combining outstanding church architecture and craftsmanship with some devilishly good food and places to stay.” VisitWiltshire and The Churches Conservation Trust are working together to promote this heritage trail encouraging visitors to stay in Wiltshire for a short break. Promotional activity includes digital and online, PR, social media and CRM activity.

“Not only can visitors follow in the footsteps of those who have stood before in these amazing Wiltshire churches, but they can take full advantage of the local fresh produce and excellent accommodation in nearby pubs and hotels,” added David.

The churches featured are All Saints’ in Alton Priors, St Leonard’s in Sutton Veny, St Mary’s in Old Dilton.

They are partnered with The Red Lion Freehouse in Pewsey, The Beckford Arms in Fonthill Gifford, The Three Daggers in Edington and Stanton House Hotel in Stanton Fitzwarren.

To download the leaflet and find out more about the Saints and Sinners trail – please visit . Leaflets are also available in tourist information centres throughout the county.