Our first pilgrimage took place at Easter 1975 as an event for young people, beating the bounds of our Diocese. Thereafter it became an annual event in the second half of August. Although some things have changed, the pattern of walking, stopping to pray at churches, a pub for lunch, and sleeping on the floor of village or church halls remains. These days the food is better, the days are a bit shorter and we try to be more ecumenical, but the essence of forming a community on the move is unchanged. Our pilgrimage is one where the journey, walking, laughing, sharing, praying, singing, etc is as important as the destination.
We're walking across the middle of England from Worcester Cathedral in the west to Peterborough Cathedral in the east, via the modern Coventry Cathedral and its bombed predecessor.
Why this route? Over the years we have visited many of the great cathedrals of England and Wales but not these three. Each is a historical landmark in its own right. Worcester contains the tomb of King John of Magna Carta fame, an early "bill of rights" reconciling the monarchy and the English barons. Coventry, with its bomb-damaged old cathedral and 1960s successor, is a symbol of peace and reconciliation. Peterborough Cathedral is known for its gothic west front, but among the saints interred in the altar is Wilfrid, the Apostle of Sussex, under whose banner our pilgrimage became ecumenical more than 40 years ago. Together, as we walk through the heart of England, we pray for a change of heart for us all, as we strive to bring peace and reconciliation to our world.
Our journey consists of 11 walking days, 2 intermediate rest days, a celebration day in Peterborough, plus a travel day at either end. Here is an overview. More detail will be available before the start.
|Sat 10th Aug
|Gather in Worcester, Welcome Service
|Sun 11th Aug
|Walk to Inkberrow.
|Mon 12th Aug
|Walk to Henley-in-Arden
|Tue 13th Aug
|Walk to Warwick
|Wed 14th Aug
|Rest Day in Warwick
|Thu 15th Aug
|Walk to Coventry
|Fri 16th Aug
|Walk to Rugby
|Sat 17th Aug
|Walk to Husbands Bosworth
|Sun 18th Aug
|Walk to Market Harborough
|Mon 19th Aug
|Rest Day in Market Harborough
|Tue 20th Aug
|Walk to Hallaton
|Wed 21st Aug
|Walk to Oakham
|Thu 22nd Aug
|Walk to Stamford
|Fri 23rd Aug
|Walk to Peterborough
|Sat 24th Aug
|Celebration Day in Peterborough
|Sun 25th Aug
|Morning Service, make own way home.
A van carries pilgrims' luggage from one stop to the next, so pilgrims only need to carry their needs for the day. A separate van carries the caterers and their supplies.
The route is marked and pilgrims follow orange arrows, allowing them to walk at their own pace so long as they don't drop behind the "backmarkers" who take the arrows down.
We strive to follow footpaths or quiet roads wherever possible, but we sometimes cross or walk short stretches along busier roads. Pilgrims are expected to be responsible for their own safety, whilst looking out for each other.
The pilgrimage is organised by past pilgrims on a voluntary basis, and the support team is completely voluntary. Pilgrims are expected to contribute to the smooth running of the pilgrimage by assisting with washing-up, cleaning, loading/unloading etc.
Prayer and worship is an important part of our life as pilgrims. We stop at many churches along our route: some historic, some modern, some grand, some very humble.
Reflecting the denominational composition of the group, our main daily services broadly alternate between RC and Anglican Eucharists, but we are often welcomed to services from other traditions.
All pilgrims have the opportunity to share a reflection with the group at one of the prayer stops.
Pilgrims who play a portable instrument are invited to bring it along to enrich our liturgy.
Everyone is welcome, but the nature of the pilgrimage places certain demands on the body.
We walk about 15 miles per day, with two rest days. Pilgrims need to be able to achieve this carrying a day pack.
We sleep communally, on the floor (bring your own mat, airbed, etc).
Toilet and washing facilities are always available at overnight stops but may be limited. Showers are an occasional treat!
Pilgrims must be over 16 or accompanied by a responsible adult. Those under 18 must provide parental consent.
Pilgrims must provide contact and basic demographic data with their booking. A medical form must be completed in advance, which will be reviewed by key personnel (as part of our risk assessment) and will be handed to medical professionals in case of emergency. Dietary requirements should be specified on the booking form.
The cost for the full pilgrimage (11 nights or more) is £350 per person; shorter periods are charged per night: £33 for 1 to 6 nights, £31 for 7 to 10 nights.
Under-21s get a 25% discount on the above prices, and a bursary is available towards the cost of equipment.
The overnight charge includes evening meal, accommodation, breakfast, and packed lunch on walking days.
We normally stop at a pub for lunch, where additional food may be available at your own cost. Pilgrims are expected to buy a drink if utilising pub facilities.
Pilgrims are responsible for making their own way to their joining point and from their leaving point. Not all overnight stops have a railway service, some may not have a bus service so a taxi may be required. Overnight stops with a station nearby are indicated by , but note that connections between places may be circuitous.
Booking is online, following the link below. (The form can also be printed, completed, and submitted by post). Payment can be made by bank transfer or cheque, with details provided when you submit your booking. A place is not reserved until we receive the £60 non-refundable deposit and send a confirmation e-mail. All pilgrims must pay in advance by 30th June.
Bookings will close on 30th June 2024, or when all places are filled. Our accommodation varies in capacity from night to night, so some nights may close sooner than others. We reserve the right to prioritise longer bookings over shorter ones as capacity is approached.
The Medical Form will be made available after your booking is accepted, and must be returned before 31st July 2024.
First, look at the diaries of our past pilgrimages.
Questions can be submitted via our contact page.
Contact our bookings secretary, Clare, on 01420 562234 or 07977 078889.
The pilgrimage is operated under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arundel and Brighton but is open to pilgrims of any faith, race or nationality.
The pilgrimage is planned by past pilgrims on a voluntary basis and is non-commercial. Please bear with us if we do not respond immediately!
Whilst the organisers undertake thorough risk assessments and strive to make the event as safe as possible for all participants, all pilgrims participate at their own risk.