Links & Resources
Category: Paths and Trails
St Michael's Way, Cornwall
St Michael's Way is a 12.5 mile walking route between Lelant, near St Ives, and St Michael's Mount, near Penzance.
The historical significance of St Michael's Way is as part of a network of pilgrim routes that lead to St James' Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain, one of the three most important sites of Christian pilgrimage in the world.
The route dates back to pre-historic times (10000 BC to 410 AD), and is thought to have been used by pilgrims and missionaries who arrived from Ireland or Wales and chose to abandon their ships and walk across the peninsula from Lelant to Marazion, rather than navigating the treacherous waters around Land's End. These early missionaries are now commemorated as saints in place names throughout the county, and are thought to have been instrumental in Cornwall's rapid conversion to the Christian faith.
The Saints Way, Cornwall
This 27 mile route is well signed with Celtic cross markers and takes you across Cornwall from Padstow in the North to Fowey on the South coast.
It follows the probable route of early Christian travellers making their way from Ireland and Wales to Brittany or Santiago de Compostella in Galicia, Spain. The route starts at Padstow harbour and heads south through Little Petherick, St Breock Downs and Lanivet before joining the Fowey River near Lostwithiel for a waterside stretch that leads to Golant and then Fowey. An alternative route (covering the last 11 miles) passes through Tywardreath, site of a medieval monastic settlement.
Most people choose to do the walk in two days, stopping in the Bodmin area.
The St Magnus Way
Link URL: https://www.stmagnusway.com/
The St Magnus Way is a 55 mile pilgrimage route through Mainland Orkney, following the story of St Magnus and giving time and space for reflection on the journey.
It is in five main sections each offering a very different landscape and reflective space. It incorporates rough coastal walking, inland track and road walking, hill climbing and even a short forest walk. It can be walked in four good days, five gentler days or three intensive days but they also encourage walking the route in shorter three to four mile sections over a longer time period.
The Forth to Farne Way
Link URL: http://www.forthtofarne.org/
The Forth to Farne Way is a new Pilgrim Route launched in October 2017. It makes use of existing core paths and sections of long distance walking routes with optional branches to places of spiritual, natural heritage and cultural importance. 72 miles (115 km) long, it can be enjoyed in 11 stages between North Berwick on the Firth of Forth and Lindisfarne, and is a route that has been walked in both directions over the centuries by countless pilgrims.
Long Distance Walkers Association
Link URL: http://www.ldwa.org.uk
This website has details of all long distance walks in the UK and other associated information.
Saints and Stones Trail (Pembrokeshire)
Link URL: http://saintsandstones.co.uk/
The Saints and Stones trails have been set up to give both visitors and residents in Pembrokeshire access to the deep spiritual qualities of these ancient places of worship, access to some of its more remote and beautiful corners and thereby to bring more faith tourists and pilgrims to benefit the rural communities.
Southwell and Nottingham church trails
The Open Churches Project has published various trail leaflets linking together churches with a common theme.
The Cistercian Way (Wales)
Link URL: http://www.cistercianway.wales/
The Cistercian Way is more than a long-distance path: it is a walk into the heart and history of Wales. Explore the great abbeys of the Cistercian order, the little churches of the Welsh hills, the amazing geology of the Pembrokeshire coast, Stone Age burial mounds, medieval castles and sheep-farms, picturesque landscaped gardens and the industrial heritage of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Cistercians were enormously important in the history of Wales. Their belief in the importance of self-sufficiency and hard work made them great farmers, and they cleared much of the upland farming landscape of Wales.
The Cistercian abbeys gave hospitality to Welsh poets and chroniclers. It was the Cistercians who wrote to the Pope in support of the Welsh kings Llywelyn ab Iorwerth and Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, and who backed Owain Glyndwr in his bid to regain Welsh independence. The Cistercians looked after important pilgrimage shrines like Penrhys. The ruins of their abbeys are among the most beautiful and evocative places in our landscape.
The complete circuit is about 650 miles, but obviously shorter sections can be walked. See the website for details.
The Cistercian Way (Cumbria)
The Cistercian Way is an ancient waymarked trail of middle distance which traverses the low limestone fells that fringe the shores of Morecambe Bay and the sands of the Furness and Cartmel peninsulas. The trail takes about two to three days to complete
St Bega's Way
Link URL: http://www.stbegasway.org.uk/
St Bega’s Way is a 36 mile (58 km) walk through rural West Cumbria and the magnificent scenery of the English Lake District. It takes you from the Norman Priory Church of St Mary and St Bega at St Bees, on the Irish Sea coast, to the pre-Norman Church of St Bega by the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake. As the start and finish are both locations in which Christian worship has taken place for over a thousand years, it is appropriate to make the walk as a pilgrimage.
Pilgrimage notes to take along on the walk are available from St Bees Priory.
St Swithun's Way
A 34 mile long-distance walk, St Swithun’s Way runs between Winchester and Farnham. Unable to follow the original route, as much of this is now the A31, St Swithun’s Way follows some of the county’s best countryside paths. Starting at Winchester Cathedral, the route passes through the Itchen Valley. It continues northeast passing the towns of Alresford and Alton, as well as Chawton, the home of Jane Austen. Following the path of the River Wey, the route reaches Farnham in Surrey and continues to Canterbury.
In mediaeval times Winchester was a centre of royal and ecclesiastical power. With the shrine to St Swithun and the tomb of Alfred the Great, it was the principal place of pilgrimage in England. However, after the death of Thomas a Beckett his shrine at Canterbury became more important. Pilgrims would have wanted to visit both shrines if possible so the 112 miles between Winchester and Canterbury probably became the most important pilgrimage route in the country.
In Hampshire and Surrey the waymarks are based on the shell, a common symbol of pilgrimage, and two croziers, representing St Swithun and St Thomas à Beckett.
St Oswald's Way
Link URL: http://www.stoswaldsway.com
A long-distance walking route, (97 miles, though it can be divided into shorter sections) exploring some of the finest landscapes and fascinating history of Northumberland. The route links some of the places associated with St. Oswald, the King of Northumbria in the early 7th Century, who played a major part in bringing Christianity to his people.
From Holy Island (Lindisfarne) in the north, St. Oswald’s Way follows the stunning Northumberland coast, before heading inland across beautiful countryside to Heavenfield and Hadrian’s Wall in the south, a distance of 97 miles (156 km). You will find castles, coastline, islands, scenic river valleys, hills, attractive villages, forest and farmland on your walk.
There is also another website www.stoswaldsway.co.uk which is connected to Walking Support.
St Cuthbert's Way
Link URL: http://www.stcuthbertsway.net
A 100km (62.5 mile) long distance walking route across the Scottish Borders to the Northumberland Coast following in the footsteps of St Cuthbert.
The St Cuthbert's Way goes between Melrose, the location of St Cuthbert's early monastic life, to Lindisfarne (Holy Island), the area of St Cuthbert's later ministry and death.
The Two Saints Way
Link URL: http://twosaintsway.org.uk
The Two Saints Way is a new 92 mile pilgrimage route which has been recreated between the cathedral cities of Chester and Lichfield.
In medieval times, Chester and Lichfield were important in their own right as pilgrimage destinations as the resting places of St Werburgh and St Chad respectively and they were also stopping places for those going on pilgrimages to such places as Holywell or Bardsey Island in Wales or those travelling to Canterbury or even as far as Rome and Jerusalem.
Peaceful Places (North Ceredigion)
Link URL: http://www.peaceful-places.com
Peaceful Places tells the stories of a collection of churches and chapels across North Ceredigion. It is not a faith trail in the traditional sense. Its purpose is to celebrate the heritage of each church and chapel in ways that are relevant to everyone, irrespective of religious beliefs. It encourages visitors to experience churches and chapels from new perspectives - as places of inspiration and meditation; as opportunities to “do something different” and enjoy a change of pace; as destinations where “quality time” can be spent amidst the beauty and tranquillity of the landscape.
Meini Bywiol Living Stones Heritage Trail (North Montgomeryshire)
Link URL: http://www.living-stones.onfo
Discover a wealth of hidden treasures in 15 remarkable churches and chapels across three valleys of North Montgomeryshire. The leaflet can be downloaded from the site.
Experience unique atmospheres and settings; see achievement and craftsmanship; learn about political and religious exploits; encounter revolutions in architecture, and sense an enduring faith from buildings that remain 'living stones' in the life of their communities.
Rural Conwy Sacred Doorways Trails
This trail links together some of the most interesting churches and chapels in the small towns and villages across the Conwy Valley. Grouped in four clusters, they can be explored either by travelling by car or by using the designated walking routes. From saints to sinners, princes to pilgrims, and bards to bandits, the trail guides the visitor through thousands of years of history. Some of the churches are in prominent positions in the landscape, others are a little harder to find, perhaps nestling beside a meandering river, down a remote country lane, or even at the top of a mountain. Each church and chapel on the trail has a unique story to tell, and hidden treasures to find. A pdf of the booklet can be downloaded from the site.
South Merioneth Church Trail
The Church Trail booklet is available to download as a PDF from the site.
The trail goes from Barmouth to Machynlleth via Dolgellau and Tywyn, 23 churches in all. All the churches are on OS OL23 Explorer Map Cadair Idris, with Grid references after each entry.
Link URL: http://www.peakpilgrimage.org.uk
The Peak Pilgrimage is a long distance footpath walk designed to be enjoyed by all. There are higher mountains, steeper tracks and greater walking challenges in other parts of Britain, but this walk in the Peak District National Park is relaxing, accessible and soul-restorative. It is a journey for anyone who likes walking but is also a pilgrimage walk designed as a spiritual experience.
North Wales Pilgrim's Way
Link URL: http://www.pilgrims-way-north-wales.org
The North Wales Pilgrim' Way runs from Basingwerk Abbey to Ynys Enlli/Bardsey. There is full information on the site about routes, places, etc with downloads available. An Annual Pilgrimage takes place at the end of May and everyone is welcome to join the group at any stage of the pilgrimage.
Facebook page: North Wales Pilgrim's Way