Derek cycling 1,500 miles to visit 42 English cathedrals

Cycling enthusiast Derek Megginson will later this month complete a mammoth 1,500-mile challenge, visiting each of England’s 42 cathedrals on his bike.

The 78-year-old began his Cathedral Cycle Challenge in September 2021 where he aimed to visit every Church of England cathedral in the country.

Initially doing so purely for enjoyment, Derek is now doing so in aid of The Bridges, a Hull-based charity which is the only rehabilitation centre in the UK that offers specialised treatment to ex-offenders to help overcome their addiction to drugs and/or alcohol.

Each one has its own amazing features and some are more impressive than others, but that is a personal opinion of mine.

derek megginson

Being no stranger to such adventures, Derek has been ticking off each place of worship in regional legs, visiting a handful on each trip.

He started in Carlisle and spent his early excursions covering northern England’s cathedrals, the 12th and final stop being in York.

From there, Derek tackled the southwest, starting in Truro in Cornwall and making his way north east to the West Midlands, before the East Midlands in Southwell.

Derek then began in Kent at Canterbury, heading to London, including St Paul’s, before riding to the south coast, Salisbury, Oxford and over to Essex and East Anglia.

With 39 of 42 already completed, Derek is due to end his epic challenge on Saturday 28th May when he will leave the final cathedral at Lincoln and cross the Humber Bridge to finish outside Hull Minster.

The Eastburn resident told the Wolds Weekly: “I was looking for a new challenge having cycled Land’s End to John O’Groats last summer and heard about the Cathedral Cycle Challenge.

“I started it last September and completed the 12 northern cathedrals in two stages.

“I’ve managed 39 so far and I’ve been fitting it around work and other commitments, with my final leg being on Saturday 28th May from Lincoln to Hull Minster.

“I enjoy cycling, although I wouldn’t call myself a cyclist, more someone who enjoys the challenge and adventure.”

During his Cathedral Cycle Challenge, Derek has been able to sample what each place of worship has to offer, with most of his visits being for the first time.

“Before this challenge, I had visited around 10 of England’s cathedrals,” he added.

“It’s always nice to see them again and to compare them to others which I have been looking around for the first time.

“Each one has its own amazing features and some are more impressive than others, but that is a personal opinion of mine.

“I must say that I prefer the older ones, however I tell everyone that the most impressive cathedral is the one which I have just walked out of.

“I’ve also been able to discover a variety of new routes too, from A and B roads, to canal paths and old rail lines.”

Derek will complete every mile himself until he crosses the Humber Bridge where it is hoped he will be joined by ‘graduates’ of The Bridges – those who have successfully completed the charity’s programme.

“I’ve done every mile on my own and will continue to do so until I cross the Humber Bridge,” he said.

“Whenever I finish a leg, I simply hop on a train home and return to the same location to start the next phase.

“Having been invited to a fundraising event for The Bridges, I was discussing what I was doing and someone said that I ought to be sponsored, so I agreed to do so for The Bridges and the feedback I have received so far has been very encouraging.

“It is a fantastic charity and I was impressed with its success rate and organisation and I was inspired by graduates who have detailed how the programme changed his life.

“It’s very heartening to see people who are in a desperate situation being helped.

“I haven’t set myself a fundraising total, as I wouldn’t want to disappoint by not reaching it, but every pound raised for The Bridges is a bonus.”

The Bridges’ impact is evident, with 68 per cent of the individuals entering the centre completing their full treatment programme, compared to the national completion average of 45 per cent.

Since opening in 2004, The Bridges, run by The Forward Trust, has supported over 450 men – many of whom have since remained in Hull and have contributed significantly to the strong recovery community in the city.

The Bridges’ fundraising chair, Simon Reevell, said: “The Bridges relies entirely on donations to run at a cost of £150,000 per year.

“Every penny raised in support of The Bridges we are very grateful for and we cannot thank Derek enough for his amazing efforts.”

To support Derek’s cause, which currently stands at over £1,500, visit

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