Modern Pilgrims

This is from the i newspaper last Tuesday, about the revival worldwide of pilgrimages, following the routes used by Christians, but not necessarily by Christians:

“Pilgrimages could be set for a revival in Britain – starting with a historic route through the South Downs. People are being urged to walk the UK’s ancient pilgrimage routes even if they do not consider themselves religious, a part of a new drive to breathe life into the spiritual journey. The campaign is being spearheaded by the British Pilgrimage Trust, which has launched a new website offering details of an array of Uk routes and information on places to visit on the way. A smartphone app is also in development. The trust is particularly keen to attract walkers o the South Downs Pilgrims’ Way, a 240 mile route from Winchester to Canterbury connecting 78 churches, 4 cathedrals, 3 river sources and 9 holy wells. The new website is the brainchild of Guy Hayward, who teamed up with Will Parsons, who has travelled Britain as a minstrel, to set up the BPT. The trust defines a pilgrimage as a journey on foot to holy places. “It is non-specifically religious. It means a place you’re drawn to because you feel a sense of wholeness or completion” Mr Parsons said, “That could be an ancestor’s grave or that of a musician Britain is made up of holy places.”

Here’s the website if you’re interested.

Who knew we still had minstrels?

I really like this idea. Britain’s landscape has played such a big role in religion here and vice versa. Anything that gets people out walking is a great idea, and there are some amazing places ot visit. Many years ago I visited a holy well in the Forest of Dean – I think it was St Anne’s. A tree nearby had a lot of old socks and even a bright yellow plastic wig hanging from it. No idea what it ws about, nobody there seemed to know either, but there were lots of candles round the well. Lovely!


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