Category Archives: Heritage Open Days

Heritage Open Days – Recent Update – Registration tips and Deadlines

You may have received this already if you subscribe as an organiser in your area but if not then I hope you find it useful.  Search on Heritage Open Days on the Central Council website for information about previous years’ bellringing involvement, links to articles about opening your tower etc

Alison Everett CCCBR


Heritage Open Days 2018 will be 6-9 & 13-16 September.

Welcome to our first e-alert for organisers -we’re delighted to declare that registration is now OPEN! So who will be first to sign up their event this year? We can’t wait to hear what new stories and sites you have to share.
Annie, Annabelle, Sarah, Andy, Alex – Your HODs team

Overview of things to do:

  • Start registering your event/s
  • Sign up to a workshop
  • Find out more about data protection legislation
  • Sign up to the newsletter

Register your event/s

Everything you need for registration is in the Organiser Area. You can access this through the website with your login. Your username will be your email address, and if you’ve forgotten your password there’s a link to reset it on the login page.

  • New this year:
    • Image upload and previewer – so you can see how pictures will appear on the directory. As this is a new system, any images uploaded in previous years will need to be added again.
    • Extra description field for short summaries. Following your feedback, this added feature will help co-ordinators who print leaflets and visitors and media who want a quick, print-friendly list of what’s happening.
  • Deadlines: 1 May – full promotional support; 1 August – final deadline. Remember the sooner you register the more support we can offer you – particularly for press coverage. We start publishing entries on the web-directory from mid-July.
  • Taken part before? Then you can simply update and re-submit the details of your previous entry. You’ll find them in the Archive section of My Events in the Organiser Area.
  • Registration tips: We’ve given our Organiser Area a lick of paint this year, including a streamlined registration form. For an overview of the process see our registration tips with a handy flowchart for reference. Do let us know of any issues – or anything that works particularly well, your feedback really helps us help you.
  • Media highlights: Annabelle is already working on the press campaign and Andy is always looking for stories for social media so if you’re NEW, have a highlight in mind or a great image, let us know on

Take action! Login to the Organiser area now to register.

Tips for area coordinators/promoters

There are lots of handy tools and documents for you in the Organiser area:

  • You can print off pre-completed registration forms to send out to individual sites from the My Events section.
  • You can download handy documents in the Useful stuff section including a template letter to encourage private home owners to open.
  • We’re working on new material to encourage involvement, but for now you can download copies of the existing ‘Get Involved‘ leaflet from the website.
  • You can see who else was involved last year, and who is registering this year by using the searches in the HODs Communitysection.

Be inspired – some event ideas

Sign up for our workshops

This year we’re running more workshops across the country to help you get the most out of your HODs weekends. Register your interest now to join our media masterclasses and get top tips on programming innovative events

New data protection laws (particularly for those who are part of an organisation, however small)

Thank you for bearing with us as we update our records to be in line with the incoming data protection laws. Some of you have asked whether this will affect your organisations. The short answer is yes; the laws do include small organisations including charities and community groups. Whilst we can’t tell you exactly how to update your records, here are some links that you might find useful in your planning:

For wider news from the festival and beyond

As an organiser we will send you short alerts about the registration cycle for the festival but if you’d like the wider news, then sign up for our newsletter. It’s just launched so sign up today to be among the first to receive it!

You have received this email as a participant of Heritage Open Days. If you are no longer involved in the programme just let us knowand we will remove your contact details from the database.

Heritage Open Days Update for Sept 7-10 2017

Please see information below from Heritage Open Days about the start of registration for their Open Days 7-10 September 2017,  Although we are not working with them directly this year they have retained the bell theme and logo and you can record that there is a ringing event if you are doing that this year. Many towers found last year that this was a great opportunity to raise the profile of ringing within their area and some even recruited new ringers so do go for it!

With all good wishes,


Public Relations Officer

Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

Registered Charity number 270036

Hello! We’re delighted to declare that registration is now OPEN! So who will be first to sign up their event this year? We can’t wait to hear what new stories and sites you have to share!

Annie, Sarah, Annabelle – Your HODs team

Register your event

All the things you need for registration are in the Organiser Area. You can access this through the website with your login. Your username will be your email address, and if you’ve forgotten your password there’s a link to reset it on the login page.

  • Insurance: please be aware that our policy doesn’t renew until April and we are currently negotiating new terms that should be more favourable. This means that the current summary details are an indication only. As soon as we have the full details we will let everyone know and re-check with those of you who have requested cover.
  • Deadlines: 1 May – full promotional support / 1 August – final deadline for events requiring HODs insurance. Remember the sooner you register your event the more support we can offer you – particularly for press coverage. The event directory will go live on the website in mid-July.
  • Taken part before? Then you can just update and re-submit the details of your previous entry. You’ll find them in the Archive section of My Events in the Organiser Area.
  • Media highlights: Annabelle (see below!) is already working on the press campaign so if you are NEW, have a highlight in mind or if you have a great image, let her know (
  • Registration tips: We’re aiming to speed up the registration process for you all this year by no longer checking entries that don’t require our insurance. For an overview of the process see our registration tips with a handy flowchart for reference.

Take action! Login to the Organiser area now to register.

Tips for area coordinators/promoters

There are lots of handy tools and documents for you in the Organiser area:

  • You can print off pre-completed registration forms to send out to individual sites from the My Events section.
  • You can download some handy documents in the Useful stuff section including a template letter to encourage private home owners to open.
  • Our introductory ‘Get Involved’ leaflet can be downloaded from the website or we can post you some copies.
  • You can see who else was involved last year, and who is registering this year by using the searches in the HODs Community section.

Programming prompts

Some ideas…

  • LGBTQ: To mark the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality, you may want to highlight local stories from this community.
  • Heritage & Nature: HODs is part of the wider European Heritage Days, which this year are celebrating the theme Heritage & Nature. Is there a green space you could be opening up? Or, does your town have a particular connection to nature that you could showcase?
  • 50th anniversary of conservation areas: Is there a local conservation area you could animate? Or, is there a chance to look at how conservation works in your town?

We’ll be posting some more tips and ideas for refreshing your programme in the next couple of weeks…so watch the website!

Media Manager

We’re thrilled to say Annabelle Thorpe has joined us as National Media Manager for 2017! Many of you will remember Annabelle from her work with the festival in 2013-15. She’s an accomplished travel writer and novelist, loves HODs and is great fun! She’s already cooking up an exciting strategy and looks forward to hearing all about your plans.

Connect with other organisers

  • There’s still a few spaces at our Organiser Fairs in Liverpool (22nd March) and Newcastle (5th April). A great chance to share skills and swap ideas!
  • Don’t forget you can search the wider database for inspiration in the HODs Community section of the Organiser area. And there’s a discussion forum where you can discuss issues big and small, and share tips directly with each other, rather than waiting for us to connect you.

Take action! Find out more about the forum with our Beginner’s guide. Log in to your Organiser area to search the database and get chatting! And to book a place on a fair, visit the website.

Heritage Open Days 7th – 10th September 2017

Is your Ringing Chamber a “hidden place”? How regularly do non-ringers come and visit? The Heritage Open Days provide a ready-made publicity machine for us if we decide to open up our towers to the public, and an opportunity to showcase our fantastic hobby.

If you are looking for new recruits then participating in this kind of initiative can help to get you onto the map in your locality.

Last year the Basingstoke Ringers wrote about their Open Day on this site. Their article might give you some ideas as to how to create an engaging experience for your visitors:

Report on Heritage Open Day 2016 – St Michael’s Basingstoke

On Saturday 10th of September, in support of the Heritage Open ‘weekend’, we opened Basingstoke St Michael’s tower to a very interested party of visitors, keen to understand a little more about ringing and to learn about the history of the bells and tower.

At St Michaels we are fortunate to have some interesting historical points to keep visitors interested. The oldest bell dates from 1558, believed to have been cast by an itinerant bell founder locally to the church, with two other bells cast in 1602 and 1670. The remainder of the bells were recast in 1938 when the ring was rehung in a steel frame by Taylors. The Floor that was mysteriously lowered in 1879, (believed to be to improve the draft of the ropes) and leaves our staircases finishing about 1 metre above the floor and various old peal boards including the first peal of Holts Original in Hampshire by the Cumberlands and the first peal on the bells in 1754 by the Reading youths, who were reputed to have walked to Basingstoke, and presumably had to walk back again afterwards!

And of course not forgetting the first peal rung by a lady, Alice White, the 15 year old daughter of the tower captain Henry White, which was rung on the 12th February 1896 at St Michaels.

The visitors listened to a short talk on the history of the tower and the development of bell ringing from Pete Jordan and then treated to a well struck course of Plain Bob Doubles by the local band who were acting as tower stewards. They then had the opportunity to visit the belfry, view the 1843 Vullimay clock and try their hand ringing rounds and lapping plain hunt minor on handbells.

Many thanks to Jon, Lynne, Betty, Mike and Heather  who supported the open day from the St Michaels band, and to those who visited (and were sent away with the guild and tower web addresses so they could be even more inquisitive!)

Bells ring in Southampton for Heritage Open Day

This news originally posted on the Southampton City Ringers’ website:

Listen out for the bells of St Michael’s Southampton which will be ringing out today for the Southampton Heritage Open Day. 10am to 10.30am and then again from 1pm to 1.30pm.

If any ringers are in the area feel free to join us!


CCCBR President’s Blog September 2016

School holidays may be over but September seems very much like summer at the moment. Whilst I did manage a short break in the Lake District, there were a few ringing items still occurring in July and August.

Over 7th/8th July we held the annual Diocesan Bell Advisers Conference in Warwick, part of the Council’s work with Church Care. Chris Pickford gave a comprehensive overview of bells in Warwickshire and Keith Chambers, adviser to Coventry Diocese, made an enthusiastic survey of work done and potential for the future, particularly making best use of old bells and installations. The sometimes emotive subject of radio masts in towers was my own talk and Alan Frost illustrated the key points of recording bells and bell frames. Church Buildings Council updated their side with reference to new faculty rules which were introduced in January. Finally, Andrew Wilby and Simon Adams talked about current challenges for the bell founder before we dispersed for a tower tour.

heritagedaylogo2An official launch of the Heritage Open Day programme, headed by National Trust, took place in London on 18th July as a precursor to the September activities. No doubt as you read this many will have been involved in organising open days and demonstration ringing at your own towers, this is a most important event which I hope will continue to get ringers’ support in future years. The following day I had two more meetings in London, one regarding Safeguarding upon which an update will be appearing in the Ringing World soon. The second was our regular joint meeting with Church Care and Heritage England on bell related matters.

The Ringing World has not surprisingly been recording summer ringing tours and there was also an important article (pages 847-849) outlining opportunities for ringing at Universities. Anyone having young ringers going off to University should encourage their continued participation which could be of mutual benefit both to themselves and their University society. I would not normally single out a ringing performance but the peal at St James, Garlickhythe, London (report page 820) was the first by a local band newly trained on the “Royal Jubliee bells” by Dickon Love and which included no less than four “firsts” – well done.
You will have seen [published the list of volunteers who have joined the Council Review Action Group (CRAG) and will be conducting an independent review of the Council’s activities. They will be contacting many organisations and individuals throughout ringing circles and I trust that you will give them support and assistance when requested.

The fact that a review is taking place does not affect the ongoing work of the Council. We have just been involved in a number of radio interviews, myself covering 10 stations in 2 hours on Sunday 10th September with PRO Kate Flavell taking a similar range. As always one is hostage to the questions and assumptions made by interviewers but the positive aspect of ringing were brought to the fore.

Finally, the first of a series of Regional seminars is to be held at Southwark Cathedral on 1st October to which “home counties” societies have received invitations. The aim is to share experience and best practice in the way that ringing is run and highlight resources and new ideas available. It is the intention to cover as many societies as possible at different centres in coming months.

I hope you have all come back to ringing refreshed and with energy to do the best in your respective towers and societies, ringing only survives by what we do as individuals.

Chris Mew, September 2016

Schedule/link for BBC Bells on Sunday – September 2016 – Heritage Open Day Theme!

  • 4th.       Writtle, Essex.     Plain Bob Royal. (Mention of Heritage Open Days)
  •  11th.      St. Paul’s Cathedral, London.  Stedman Cinques.  .
  •  18th.       Burford, Oxon.   D. N. C. B.                                           
  • 25th.       Lamberhurst,  Kent.   Plain & Little Bob Minor.

Getting Ready for your Heritage Open Day… Kate Flavell Writes

We have put on our website some new help for those doing tower tours in connection with Heritage Open Days.  You can find it here:

There is already other guidance on tower tours and after Heritage Open Days we will be combining them into one new document.

With all good wishes,

Kate Flavell


BBC focus on ringing Sunday 4 September

Kate Flavell (CCCBR Public Relations Officer) Writes:

Dear PR Officers,

The BBC are going to have a focus on the recent ringing survey and Heritage Open Days on Sunday 4 September.  They are (at the moment – these things can change) intending to do TV recordings during the week commencing 30 August in Wakefield and London for use on BBC Breakfast.  I am doing a stint from 7 – 9 am for BBC local stations that morning and there is also to be something on the Radio 4 Sunday programme, although details of this are currently a little vaguer.

They are going to use the survey that was carried out at the Central Council meeting in Portsmouth in May, and focus on its findings of the need for ringing and the problems of recruitment.  I hope we can focus as much as possible on the positives and encourage people to go to visit their local church over the HOD weekend the following weekend to find out more.

Please do be ready for approaches from your own local radio and TV stations and other media, perhaps even putting out your own press release setting out what is happening in your area and where people can go to learn more about ringing.  Don’t forget to include a contact name and phone number where media can get more info. While the main focus of the Heritage Open Days is not recruitment, the BBC focus is, so we all need to be ready to tell people where they can go to learn.  It would also be great to mention whenever possible that lots of people have learnt in the past and had to give up due to pressures of eg work and family but might like to come back now – if we could regain all the lapsed ringers that would be a great start to the recruitment needed.

As I hope you will know, there is a lot of useful stuff about working with the media, press releases etc on our website here:

Please do let me know if you need any help from me on this.  With all good wishes,

Kate Flavell

Public Relations Officer

Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

Registered Charity number 270036


Ring for Heritage Open Days 8-11 September

Challenge 500 & Heritage Open Day Update

We’re really doing well and have now got five towers from our the C&S district taking part. What about your tower? Could you join this national opportunity to get some ringing publicity?

Current towers

  • Brokenhurst
  • Minstead
  • Lyndhurst
  • Fawley
  • Eling

Details about the events are available here at our  Heritage Day Details page and the Heritage Open Days website.

Fawley takes up “Challenge 500”

As part of their current recruitment activities, the bell ringers at Fawley have opted in to the Heritage Open Days “Challenge 500” scheme, and also to encourage neighbouring towers to take part so that a programme of visits can be on offer for members of the public.

They have written to neighbouring Tower captains:

heritage-open-daysWe are trying to arrange some tower visits during the Open Days week and on 10th & 11th September. Would your ringers be interested in participating in this. Perhaps we could agree a programme for ringers to visit each of out towers during one of the days?

Please ask your ringers if they would like to take part – then one of us could put together a visit programme.

Best wishes,

Lawrence Clark
Fawley Tower Secretary

Last few weeks to sign up for September’s drive to open 500 belltowers across the UK

A collaboration with Heritage Open Days, Central Council of Church Bellringers and National Trust mark a welcome shift in bringing bellringing to the attention of the public.

Open your tower to visitors this September, host interactive demonstrations or
become part of a magnificent chorus of ringing bands simultaneously sounding out
across the country on Thursday 8 September 2016, 6-7pm.

Kate Flavell Central Council’s PR Officer has said   “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to get plenty of publicity for ringing, open up our towers to a huge public to show off ringing, and possibly to gain some recruits, although this is not necessarily the prime purpose of this particular exercise.  (But it could be the first step.)”

Please encourage your towers to register for Heritage Open days so we can reach our target of 500 churches open for ringing-related events and so that towers opening receive the support package from Heritage Open Days.  Registration closes at the end of July and the sooner you register the better.  When you  Register for Heritage Open Days  make sure you tick the box to indicate there are ringing-related activities included, otherwise you won’t be counted towards the 500!

You don’t have to open all weekend – at my tower we are doing just three tours on the Friday.

 Heritage Open Days are planning a big local media push on 17 July.  Make sure you are ready for that and that your association or towers have their own press releases out with their local media.  There is more information on the Council’s website here: 

 Please do see what you can do to help your towers join in, perhaps by  joining together to create a ringing event.  Thanks so much for your help with this and all good wishes,


Public Relations Officer

Central Council of Church Bell Ringers

Registered Charity number 270036

 Ring for Heritage Open Days 8-11 September

Click to access Challenge_500-_wales_updated_webs.pdf

CCCBR President’s Blog May 2016      

Not intentionally but this is the second blog which has slipped to bi-monthly, just too much going on.
Following an Administrative Committee meeting on 19th March it was a welcome break to go on holiday to Italy and Switzerland. I had the privilege in Verona of being met by the president of the Veronese Association and on Easter Sunday went round with the very hospitable Verona ringers, visiting no less than 7 towers in 2 hours – makes us look slackers.
The first key activity in April was the memorial service for Sir Arthur Heywood, first President of the Central Council, held at Denstone and the two-day “Heywood Weekend” ably organised locally by the Derby Diocesan Association. A full history of Sir Arthur Heywood appeared in the RW issue of 22nd April and this has been followed by a report in issue of 13th May. I think it is appropriate to pass on thanks of the Heywood family to all the ringing fraternity for recognising and celebrating their great grandfather.
The next week started by joining the Founders Company in their Court Lunch and the following day an interview and filming with the Wall Street Journal. The latter has now published a bell ringing related article and video including ringing at St Paul’s Cathedral and interviews with Martin Cansdale and Elva Ainsworth.
The next duty was to attend a Heritage Open Day conference in Birmingham, an earlier one in London having been attended by our PRO Kate Flavell.  As many towers as possible are being encouraged to commit and register to ring in September and a flyer outlining the event is available on the CC website. Do join in and get publicity for your tower and ringing, Who knows what recruits you might pick up.
I happened to be ringing in Leicester on the fateful day when the local team were presented with the Premier League Trophy.

Needless to say the City was like a giant carnival and it was pleasing (and amusing) that as we waved from the Cathedral stairs gallery passers- by saluted, presumably in the belief that we were ringing for their team.  Just goes to prove that people do notice and appreciate the ringing of bells.
The next Saturday I had the privilege of attending the Salisbury Guild AGM in Devizes and it was great to see not only good attendance but evidence of a lot of hard work in maintaining and developing local ringing. It was good to be presenting certificates including the “Most Improved Junior Ringer” award to Lewis Hurry,   aged 13. Congratulations too to the Guild on winning the Tewkesbury Shield the previous weekend.
I will sign off now with the Council Meeting in Portsmouth looming in less than two weeks, if you are coming along do stop me and say hello.
Chris Mew  May 2016

Bell Tower Challenge Has Nice Ring To It

Thursday 8 – Sunday 11 September

Open your tower and be part of something bigger.                                openNat Her

Churches and cathedrals are being challenged to show people the ropes by bringing to life the 400-year old tradition of English-style bell ringing as part of Heritage Open Days this September. The call to the ringing world to open up 500 sites will provide a unique opportunity for ringing bands across England to share the heritage hidden inside their bell towers as well as their passion with millions of visitors who every year venture out to discover the treasures on their doorstep.

Bell ringers across the country are already signing up to take part in Challenge 500 including enthusiasts at some of the country’s most significant and interesting locations such as the ringing chamber at St Peter Mancroft in Norwich. This is where the first recorded peal took place in May 1715 and where there are plans to develop a ringing heritage and teaching centre.

The tradition of change ringing is a unique form of music peculiar to England. Instead of ‘tunes’ the bells ring in orderly sequences that the ringers learn as patterns and then ring from memory. Ringers control the bell with a rope, while the bell turns full circle, mounted on a wheel. Famous people who are reported to have rung bells include comedians Jo Brand, Timmy Mallett, the late Victoria Wood, gardener Alan Titchmarsh and entertainer and writer the late Frank Muir.

In addition to the Challenge 500 ringers are invited to come together to create a collective bell ringing moment as part of the festival on Thursday 8th September between 1800 – 1900 hours.

Loyd Grossman, Patron of Heritage Open Days, said: “Heritage Open Days provides the perfect opportunity to join together to bring to life the four-hundred year old tradition of English-style bell ringing for a huge audience. We are keen to recruit churches and cathedrals to become involved in the festival by registering an event for visitors to discover their bell towers and to take part in hands on demonstrations.”

Chris Mew, President of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, said: “We are excited that bell ringers will join this annual celebration of our cultural treasures. There are 5,000 bell towers for change ringing and our challenge is to unlock the doors to 500 of them. What’s more, some visitors may be able to see the bells, often locked away over our heads, discover our ringing forebears’ achievements recorded on peal boards, learn about bell ringing and maybe have a go themselves.”

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “Ringing out the bells over Heritage Open Days is a great way to bring people’s attention to the cultural and historical significance of bell ringing and its preservation. We are excited that millions of visitors will be able to discover the hidden history of bell towers in churches and cathedrals which will be free to access over four days.”

To take part in the challenge and to be counted, bell towers need to register with Heritage Open Days by 1st August 2016. By registering, all participants will be able to access a free marketing support pack and their event will be listed at from mid-July. For more information, visit the website or email