A trip up the Spire

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At 2.30pm on Wednesday 25th March 2021, John and Amanda got to do something hardly anyone in Coventry gets to do – we climbed Holy Trinity Church Spire.

When you say that to someone, they go ‘Oh yeah, we did that as kids with the school’, but hang on a minute, WHICH spire? The old Cathedral one has been open to public visits for years, but the Holy Trinity one isn’t. Which makes our trip really special. 

Both John and Amanda have climbed the old Cathedral Spire, and John (despite not being great with heights) wanted to capture some views that wouldn’t be accessible to other people. Amanda was just keen to tag along for the adventure.

There’s a bit of a backstory to the timing. 

The spire has a pair of peregrines who regularly nest up there, and if you look carefully you can see the permanent nest box. We were dangerously close to their nesting season and they had been heard calling on the weeks before so we had to take expert advice whether we were still in a ‘safe window’ not to disturb them.

Luckily our timing was just about ok, so on a sunny Spring afternoon, and with just a couple of days notice, we was ‘on., Colin, the Verger led us up the dark and windy stairs.  John is quite tall and Amanda not as fit as she’d like, so they both went a bit quiet!

Not being open to the public meant we had to take extra care as there were no lights or handrails but about three quarters of the way up there’s a really beautiful ‘gallery’ where the bells used to be. 

This gave us great views of the city and if it wasn’t so inaccessible would be a wonderful art gallery space! We all agreed there was a real sense of tranquility there, and the light was incredible.

Onward though to the tight squeeze through an Alice in Wonderland-like hatch onto the highest point and what a view! The balcony is really just designed for access, not viewing, so it was a bit of a squash and you could tell the peregrines were already visiting, as there were plenty of bird bones and a curiously few bits of former duck. Colin told us he thought they used the nearby Swanswell pool for hunting, which makes sense.

John set to work unpacking his kit and taking in 360 of the city centre, as well as some great views across to the Cathedral and Old Cathedral. It was pretty windy, but there were some sheltered nooks. Just glad it wasn’t raining!

Being a clear day, you could see for miles – right up to the Ricoh – and you got a great impression of all the different Coventry suburbs. Despite the tower blocks, it was amazing how much green could be see across the city.

Amanda set to work looking for ancient graffiti – as was rewarded with a bit, probably scratched into the spire by a bored Tiler!

The journey back down to a waiting Colin in the gallery space was not great – back through the tiny hatch, coming down dark, steep windy stairs and as we continued to descend, no one was talking. 

Right at the bottom was a walkway with beautiful light streaming through and finally a cracking bit of graffiti!  

It was a great experience and a privilege to have been able to do it and for John to get some dramatic shots!

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