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Walking the 'Pilgrims Way' as a prelude to Camino Ingles

gollygolly

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2000, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
As a prelude to walking the Camino Ingles from La Coruna in July this year, I am intending to walk from Salisbury Cathedral to Winchester and then along the Pilgrims Way to Canterbury Cathedral.

If any forum members have some useful advice about the Pilgrims Way that they are willing to share, it will be very welcomed.

Thanks in advance.
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
As a prelude to walking the Camino Ingles from La Coruna in July this year, I am intending to walk from Salisbury Cathedral to Winchester and then along the Pilgrims Way to Canterbury Cathedral.

If any forum members have some useful advice about the Pilgrims Way that they are willing to share, it will be very welcomed.

Thanks in advance.
If you can access BBC iPlayer radio 4 Claire Balding included The Pilgrims Way in one of her Ramblings programmes last Summer. I think the programme is still available to listen to,
 
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FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
The Ramblings programme I mentioned was broadcast on 22 September 2016 and you can still catch it on iPlayer radio 4
 

gollygolly

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2000, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
The Ramblings programme I mentioned was broadcast on 22 September 2016 and you can still catch it on iPlayer radio 4
Many thanks Fleur

I will be looking out for the broadcast
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
There's a very useful map book NORTH DOWNS WAY AZ ADVENTURE series from Ordnance Survey. This covers NDW from Farnham to Canterbury and Dover. The Pilgrims Way closely follows NDW in parts.
As well as having the maps for the whole walk in one small booklet there's a really useful section at the back where it has a route planner. This planner gives distances and also indicates how far off the NDW you need to walk to access local accommodation, food stops etc.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
When a question is inexact (Where did you start?), you can get special answers from persons trying to make their camino different from the other 272,411. Four pilgrims say they started walking or biking in the United Kingdom, three others from Ireland:

Reino Unido C. Ing con 4 (0,00%)
Irlanda C. Ing con 3 (0,00%)

One even started in Australia:

Australia con 1 (0,00%)

They have not added unicycles or pogo sticks to the list of modes of movement, but some pilgrim will probably insist on the category someday. In the meantime, there were some very wet starts for some pilgrims. ;)
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
They have not added unicycles or pogo sticks to the list of modes of movement, but some pilgrim will probably insist on the category someday. In the meantime, there were some very wet starts for some pilgrims. ;)
A bit of a problem for those of us with ambitions to be real pilgrims but who live on a big grey damp island off the NW coast of France. Last year I walked from Canterbury to Dover. Then from Calais to Rome. Being at heart deeply lazy I took a ferry for the Dover to Calais section rather than swim and so disqualified myself from being a true pilgrim. Likewise I cheated outrageously in walking from my home in Wales to St Jean Pied de Port by taking not one but TWO ferries on the way. This of course rendered both journeys spiritually null and void: a sacrilegious travesty of pilgrimage. Something for which now I feel deeply guilty and your words have made me see that I should confess all - done that bit above - and seek forgiveness and absolution (Are you reading this @timr ?) .
 
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
@gollygolly hi

As I had quite a bit of time on my hands in July and August 2016 (before returning home) I decided to start a pilgrimage from Southwark Cathedral, go via Rochester Cathedral and to end at Canterbury Cathedral. And then attend matins, mass and evensong there each day for four days.

I was lucky as Southwark had just got in a supply of Credentials. And to avoid walking through London's outer suburbs I trained to halfway up the Darenth Valley from Dartmouth and began walking from Eynsford. A few hours later and I was at Otford and formally on the North Downs Way.

A had a hard copy of The North Downs Way by Kev Reynolds and published by Cicerone. Stamfords of Long Acre, London were the stockists.

Several authors say the name "Pilgrims Way" was attributed by a map maker in the mid 1800's and is no more than a romantic suggestion of what might have been, but without any research to back it up.

My understanding about accommodation before starting was this: there are no back packer hostels of any kind except at Southwark and Canterbury. Accordingly I had a tent with air mattress and pegs weighing about 600 grams along with a sleeping bag. In the end I used this only once and stayed in a hotel once (Wrotham Heath), city pub (Rochester), and a retreat house (Aylesford) - quite expensive, but the summer heat was getting to me.

While I often encountered singles and small groups doing day trips it was only on the last leg, from Chilham to Canterbury, that I encountered others having a similar intent to me.

I wish you well

Kia kaha (take care, be brave, get going)
 

andy.d

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Levante 2009
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2011
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2014
Pilgrims Way Winchester - Canterbury
Camino Ingles (Ferrol) 2015
Cistercian Way (Wales) 2016
Bradypus and I walked the Pilgrims Way from Winchester to Canterbury in two sections of five days, plus a day to finish off a few years ago. There will be reports about it on my blog - if you google 'pilgimpace pilgrims way' they will come up.
I enjoyed it a lot, although the second week was truly awful weather - on the wet chalk we were struggling to make 1mph. Lots of good memories of it

Andy
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
Wet chalk on North Downs Way can be lethal, do take care.

If the stepping stones over the river Mole ( at the foot of Boxhill ) are under water or not easy to cross, there's a footpath (to the left) that takes you over a footbridge and path leads you back to the ascending track.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I enjoyed it a lot, although the second week was truly awful weather - on the wet chalk we were struggling to make 1mph. Lots of good memories of it
And some dreadful memories too! Mud halfway up my shins, measuring my length going uphill AND downhill, pouring a couple of pints of water out of my new porous tent, the music in the cowboy bar...... :) But the highlights were pretty good compensation. A revelation that such beautiful walking and sparsely populated country lies so close to London.
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
Indeed. Beautiful and varied countryside, so close to home.


Pssst! Don't tell everyone.
 
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andy.d

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Levante 2009
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2011
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2014
Pilgrims Way Winchester - Canterbury
Camino Ingles (Ferrol) 2015
Cistercian Way (Wales) 2016
... carrying on from Bradypus ... some of the best bivvying sites I have slept in, sudden and deep welcome from pubs, deep and varied beauty, a kelly kettle misbehaving, the look on Bradypus' face when his tent became porous ....
 

gollygolly

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2000, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
@gollygolly hi

As I had quite a bit of time on my hands in July and August 2016 (before returning home) I decided to start a pilgrimage from Southwark Cathedral, go via Rochester Cathedral and to end at Canterbury Cathedral. And then attend matins, mass and evensong there each day for four days.

I was lucky as Southwark had just got in a supply of Credentials. And to avoid walking through London's outer suburbs I trained to halfway up the Darenth Valley from Dartmouth and began walking from Eynsford. A few hours later and I was at Otford and formally on the North Downs Way.

A had a hard copy of The North Downs Way by Kev Reynolds and published by Cicerone. Stamfords of Long Acre, London were the stockists.

Several authors say the name "Pilgrims Way" was attributed by a map maker in the mid 1800's and is no more than a romantic suggestion of what might have been, but without any research to back it up.

My understanding about accommodation before starting was this: there are no back packer hostels of any kind except at Southwark and Canterbury. Accordingly I had a tent with air mattress and pegs weighing about 600 grams along with a sleeping bag. In the end I used this only once and stayed in a hotel once (Wrotham Heath), city pub (Rochester), and a retreat house (Aylesford) - quite expensive, but the summer heat was getting to me.

While I often encountered singles and small groups doing day trips it was only on the last leg, from Chilham to Canterbury, that I encountered others having a similar intent to me.

I wish you well

Kia kaha (take care, be brave, get going)
Many thanks for the reply ; the idea of starting at Southwark Cathedral never crossed my mind, but your account of your walk has planted the seed of an idea for me to do another walk in the future. For this year the planned walk is going to be Salisbury - Winchester - Canterbury, and hopefully with a reasonable measure of sunshine without the extreme heat that you write in your experience on the walk.
 

gollygolly

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2000, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
There's a very useful map book NORTH DOWNS WAY AZ ADVENTURE series from Ordnance Survey. This covers NDW from Farnham to Canterbury and Dover. The Pilgrims Way closely follows NDW in parts.
As well as having the maps for the whole walk in one small booklet there's a really useful section at the back where it has a route planner. This planner gives distances and also indicates how far off the NDW you need to walk to access local accommodation, food stops etc.
Many thanks - I have just placed an on-line order for this map / guide !
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
The Ramblings programme explains how to obtain a credencial for the Pilgrims way.
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
I think you'll find the NDW map booklet very useful. I had mine for Christmas and have been "armchair" walking with it ever since.
 

gollygolly

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2000, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
Bradypus and I walked the Pilgrims Way from Winchester to Canterbury in two sections of five days, plus a day to finish off a few years ago. There will be reports about it on my blog - if you google 'pilgimpace pilgrims way' they will come up.
I enjoyed it a lot, although the second week was truly awful weather - on the wet chalk we were struggling to make 1mph. Lots of good memories of it

Andy
Hello Andy, and thanks for your post.

Would very much appreciate if you could let me have the link to your account ; I opened https://pilgrimpace.wordpress.com/tag/pilgrimage/

but could not see the account of the Pilgrims Way walk.

Many thanks

Andrew
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
Hi there,

When do you expect to arrive in Canterbury? If our calenders match I'd be pleased to stand a fellow pilgrim lunch or dinner (I live about 5 miles outside of the city).

Take time out to visit the pilgrim's hospital in the High Street - you can find details (and a virtual tour) at http://www.eastbridgehospital.org.uk/ and remember it's St Thomas Becket NOT St Thomas a Becket ;)

If you have your credential with you you can get a stamp from the Cathedral imformation office - explain to the sometimes officious gatekeepers what you're after and then you won't get charged the £12 entance fee.

You may find http://www.pilgrimswaycanterbury.org/ useful especially the "map" tab which lists accommodation, shops, pubs, places of interest and the locations of churches that have stamps for your passport.

Enjoy!
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
Forgot to say off to the east of Canterbury there's the tiny village of Staple where you'll find the church of St James the Great - not quite as impressive as the cathedral in Santiago charming enough in its own fashion.

upload_2017-1-7_20-57-35.jpeg
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Would very much appreciate if you could let me have the link to your account ; I opened https://pilgrimpace.wordpress.com/tag/pilgrimage/

but could not see the account of the Pilgrims Way walk.
Hi @gollygolly !

Andy doesn't drop into the forum every day and it might be a while until he replies. Andy's blogging style is more impressionistic and meditative than narrative: a polite way of suggesting that he has a grasshopper mind and the literary attention span of a goldfish when it comes to telling a straight story :) His blog does not so much give an account as present a series of snapshots and reflections. In vaguely chronological order you will find posts about the three stages of our journey here:
https://pilgrimpace.wordpress.com/2011/05/22/the-pilgrims-way-pilgrim-traces/
https://pilgrimpace.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/pilgrims-way-report/
https://pilgrimpace.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/pilgrims-on-the-pilgrims-way/
https://pilgrimpace.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/a-canterbury-tale-1/
https://pilgrimpace.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/a-canterbury-tale-2/
Clicking on the various links and tags scattered about these pages may bring up a few more nuggets which I have missed :)
 

Steve morales

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2016
As a prelude to walking the Camino Ingles from La Coruna in July this year, I am intending to walk from Salisbury Cathedral to Winchester and then along the Pilgrims Way to Canterbury Cathedral.

If any forum members have some useful advice about the Pilgrims Way that they are willing to share, it will be very welcomed.

Thanks in advance.
We started our Camino experience in Cantebury! We let them know in advance when we would be there and we were included by name in the communion service8:30 am) and the vicar met with us after for a special blessing and our first stamp in our Compestela. We the walked the Downs to Dover. Very uniquely our Camino experience
 

Steve morales

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2016
As a prelude to walking the Camino Ingles from La Coruna in July this year, I am intending to walk from Salisbury Cathedral to Winchester and then along the Pilgrims Way to Canterbury Cathedral.

If any forum members have some useful advice about the Pilgrims Way that they are willing to share, it will be very welcomed.

Thanks in advance.
We also did the Camino Ingles from Ferrol after the Frances was just too crowded!!!
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
We also did the Camino Ingles from Ferrol after the Frances was just too crowded!!!
Sounds like a wise move! @andy.d and me walked the Ingles from Ferrol in January 2015. We set off on the feast of Three Kings and managed to fit in a vast lunch before reaching Pontedeume the first night. A very enjoyable journey. We were amazingly lucky with weather: total of 20 minutes drizzle the whole way and we even managed to get slightly sunburned :)
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
One even started in Australia:

Australia con 1 (0,00%)

;)
I have considered getting my first sello from St James in Sydney (the oldest church extant in the city, designed by the convict architect Francis Greenway) and walking from there to the airport for my flight to Madrid, and then walking the Camino de Madrid, from the airport.
 

gerardcarey

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF x2, CPL
I intend to walk from Southwark Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral this year, probably May. My motivation is having lived and worked in Southwark for a time, at the 'Anchor Tap' tavern adjacent to Tower Bridge.
More importantly I have also been a long time devotee of Chaucher's 'Canterbury Tales' and intend to carry a copy and enjoy it along the way.
I am aware the Pilgrims Way starts in Winchester but obviously this start is not for me. Thank you everyone for the info above into which I will delve. I need to plan a route, and see one from Southwark which links with the Pilgrims Way around Sevenoaks.
http://www.pilgrimswaycanterbury.org/the-way/
That looks promising altho I have heard tell pilgrims from London went via Rochester, which seems to be more direct and therefore make a little more sense.
Now to investigate accommodation. That looks a little more difficult.
Your further advice as to routes, maps, and accommodation would be much appreciated.
Kind regards
Gerard
 
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andy.d

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Levante 2009
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2011
Camino Ingles (Coruna) 2014
Pilgrims Way Winchester - Canterbury
Camino Ingles (Ferrol) 2015
Cistercian Way (Wales) 2016
Gerard,
I think the homelessness project at St Martin in the Fields do an annual walk along this route. They would have information. That would be a wonderful group of people to walk with

Andy
 

gollygolly

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2000, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
Hi there,

When do you expect to arrive in Canterbury? If our calenders match I'd be pleased to stand a fellow pilgrim lunch or dinner (I live about 5 miles outside of the city).

Take time out to visit the pilgrim's hospital in the High Street - you can find details (and a virtual tour) at http://www.eastbridgehospital.org.uk/ and remember it's St Thomas Becket NOT St Thomas a Becket ;)

If you have your credential with you you can get a stamp from the Cathedral imformation office - explain to the sometimes officious gatekeepers what you're after and then you won't get charged the £12 entance fee.

You may find http://www.pilgrimswaycanterbury.org/ useful especially the "map" tab which lists accommodation, shops, pubs, places of interest and the locations of churches that have stamps for your passport.

Enjoy!
Many thanks indeed Jeff

If the weather permits, which from reading the post above that suggests that walking on the chalk paths when they are wet can be slow going, hope to get to Canterbury on Friday 7th July. Our time available for the whole walk is very, very tight... but if there is an opportunity to share some time, it would be a pleasure for us. Thanks also for the suggestion of visiting the pilgrims hospital in the High Street. If time allows, that will be a place I would love to visit.

Bon camino !
 

gerardcarey

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF x2, CPL
Gerard,
I think the homelessness project at St Martin in the Fields do an annual walk along this route. They would have information. That would be a wonderful group of people to walk with
Andy
Thanks Andy. Altho quite a bit of info about it online there doesn't appear to be much up yet for 2017. It it appears to be held in May so that might just suit me.
Would be quite good fun.
Thanks again
Gerard
 

Marion

New Member
Cicerone are publishing Walking the Pilgrims' Way to Canterbury from Winchester and London, ISBN 978 1 85284 777 7 by Leigh Hatts on 15 February. It should be available from the CSJ bookshop and other places after that.

The route follows as far as possible the 'old road' which academics say may never have existed, deviating onto the North Downs Way only where necessary, because of busy roads or private estates, with a few minor road stretches, esp in Kent. But I think that when you are walking the countryside it is clear that there was an old route at and just above the spring level on the south side of the chalk spine of the North Downs.

The Guide includes a lot of historical information about the churches and historical connections, unlike many straight walking Guides.

Pilgrim records are available at Winchester, Southwark and Canterbury cathedrals. A few churches have stamps. This could be walked prior to the Camino Inglés.

Accommodation is an issue -you need to be resourceful.

Canterbury cathedral has a useful website www.pilgrimswaycanterbury.org

Declaration of interest! I write as former secretary of CSJ and fellow pilgrim (and wife) of Leigh Hatts!
 
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Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
Many thanks indeed Jeff

If the weather permits, which from reading the post above that suggests that walking on the chalk paths when they are wet can be slow going, hope to get to Canterbury on Friday 7th July. Our time available for the whole walk is very, very tight... but if there is an opportunity to share some time, it would be a pleasure for us. Thanks also for the suggestion of visiting the pilgrims hospital in the High Street. If time allows, that will be a place I would love to visit.

Bon camino !
It's on my calendar!
 

gollygolly

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2000, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
Cicerone are publishing Walking the Pilgrims' Way to Canterbury from Winchester and London, ISBN 978 1 85284 777 7 by Leigh Hatts on 15 February. It should be available from the CSJ bookshop and other places after that.

The route follows as far as possible the 'old road' which academics say may never have existed, deviating onto the North Downs Way only where necessary, because of busy roads or private estates, with a few minor road stretches, esp in Kent. But I think that when you are walking the countryside it is clear that there was an old route at and just above the spring level on the south side of the chalk spine of the North Downs.

The Guide includes a lot of historical information about the churches and historical connections, unlike many straight walking Guides.

Pilgrim records are available at Winchester, Southwark and Canterbury cathedrals. A few churches have stamps. This could be walked prior to the Camino Inglés.

Accommodation is an issue -you need to be resourceful.

Canterbury cathedral has a useful website www.pilgrimswaycanterbury.org

Declaration of interest! I write as former secretary of CSJ and fellow pilgrim (and wife) of Leigh Hatts!

Many thanks indeed - will be ordering this once the publication date is reached !
 

Eve Alexandra

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning my first in March '17
How did I miss this? I'm doing a portion of the North Downs/Pilgrims Way after my camino! Probably Rochester to Canterbury. Thanks for the links. I'll be checking it all out. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
Now to investigate accommodation. That looks a little more difficult.
The Canterbury Cathedral website was helpful about the route and churches, especially those with stamps.
Regrettably the actual experience was quite different. Many churches were not open. Having got my credential at Southwark Cathedral (where they were on to when to stamp it) I found myself using pharmacies and post offices for "evidence" of my pilgrimage progress.

At the gate house to Canterbury Cathedral I lined up with those paying their money. I did not have to wait long before an invigilator spotted me, asked if I was on a pilgrimage (YES) and took me to the reception centre about 50 metres inside the precinct.

Accommodation was a completely different affair. Except for the last 15 km I did not encounter any other walkers. So did not expect hostel type accommodation. (This mirrored my experience on Thames Path). All that was left was sporadic pubs and hotels. Being forewarned I was carrying a two person tent (weighing about 0.6 kg). The problem with that on a hillside was finding a near flat spot that was not too public in the mid afternoon. In the end I used it once on the Canterbury trail: under a large tree in a church yard.

I wish you well

Kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
 

Eve Alexandra

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning my first in March '17
Thank you for telling me about your experience. It sounds very solitary, which really appeals to me. :) I've actually created my stages tonight and booked accomodations in advance for all but one that I am still waiting to hear from. I'm not tenting. Not feeling quite that much like roughing it. lol And my stages are shorter than camino stages. This is my contemplative time after my camino, with a little more rest. :)

If all goes well, it'll be this:

Aylesford
Rochester
Thurnham
Charing
Chilham
Canterbury (2 nights)
then I head back to London for one day before flying home.jj

My only concern is getting from Heathrow to Aylesford, as my plane doesn't arrive till 6, and who knows how long it'll take to get through customs, etc, before I get on a train/bus. And I have no idea how far the station is from where I want to stay (The Friars Guesthouse if I"m lucky!). If this doesn't work, I'll go straight to Rochester and stay 2 nights there, as I do want to see the Cathedral and the Castle there.
 

gerardcarey

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF x2, CPL
The Canterbury Cathedral website was helpful about the route and churches, especially those with stamps.
Regrettably the actual experience was quite different. Many churches were not open. Having got my credential at Southwark Cathedral (where they were on to when to stamp it) I found myself using pharmacies and post offices for "evidence" of my pilgrimage progress.
At the gate house to Canterbury Cathedral I lined up with those paying their money. I did not have to wait long before an invigilator spotted me, asked if I was on a pilgrimage (YES) and took me to the reception centre about 50 metres inside the precinct.
Accommodation was a completely different affair. Except for the last 15 km I did not encounter any other walkers. So did not expect hostel type accommodation. (This mirrored my experience on Thames Path).
Thanks for the advice. I'll probably start at the pub I used to work at close to Tower Bridge. Then to Southwark Cathedral, altho the credential is not of supreme importance. I'm following Chaucers pilgrims.
Not sure yet whether I'll go via Rochester.
I haven't got any camping gear so will wing it, hopefully pubs and bnb's.
Do you have any recommendations as to specific accommodation?
Regards
Gerard
 
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Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
My only concern is getting from Heathrow to Aylesford
I am not an expert on travel within London. However, assuming your arrival is 6 am (06h00) you might want to consider:

1) Picaddilly Line from any LHR Underground station to S Pancras / Kings Cross - about 60 minutes

2) rail: S Pancras to Strood - about 30 minutes

3) rail: Strood to Ayleford - about 15 minutes

4) walk: Aylesford Station to (my assumption) Aylesford Priory - about 20 minutes / 2 kilometres / 1.1 miles

If 6 pm (18h00) arrival then I suggest you book some accommodation near S Pancras / Kings Cross and continue the to Aylesford the next day.

Kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
I am not an expert on travel within London. However, assuming your arrival is 6 am (06h00) you might want to consider:

1) Picaddilly Line from any LHR Underground station to S Pancras / Kings Cross - about 60 minutes

2) rail: S Pancras to Strood - about 30 minutes

3) rail: Strood to Ayleford - about 15 minutes

4) walk: Aylesford Station to (my assumption) Aylesford Priory - about 20 minutes / 2 kilometres / 1.1 miles

If 6 pm (18h00) arrival then I suggest you book some accommodation near S Pancras / Kings Cross and continue the to Aylesford the next day.

Kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)

I've just looked on the trainline.com site. Your information looks about right. The single fare quoted was £29.50 from LHR to Aylesford. It looks doable that evening but flight delays / immigration delays etc would mean you arrive late. I think your suggestion Alwyn is a good one. My daughter stayed twice at Premier Inn hotel Kings Cross (next door to St Pancras station) and said it was good and convenient.
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Via Tolosana
I intend to walk from Southwark Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral this year, probably May. My motivation is having lived and worked in Southwark for a time, at the 'Anchor Tap' tavern adjacent to Tower Bridge.
More importantly I have also been a long time devotee of Chaucher's 'Canterbury Tales' and intend to carry a copy and enjoy it along the way.
I am aware the Pilgrims Way starts in Winchester but obviously this start is not for me. Thank you everyone for the info above into which I will delve. I need to plan a route, and see one from Southwark which links with the Pilgrims Way around Sevenoaks.
http://www.pilgrimswaycanterbury.org/the-way/
That looks promising altho I have heard tell pilgrims from London went via Rochester, which seems to be more direct and therefore make a little more sense.
Now to investigate accommodation. That looks a little more difficult.
Your further advice as to routes, maps, and accommodation would be much appreciated.
Kind regards
Gerard


Caught up with this thread out of the blue as I came briefly back to look for info. on something else!
What great memories it brought back!
In case it can be of help to anyone, here goes....
My itinerary/accommodation on the way to Dover (beg. July 2014) :

Day 1: walked from home (Sevenoaks) to Aylesford, going through Kemsing and Wrotham. Stayed the night at Aylesford Priory where you can have supper as well. Thoroughly recommend. I was also given access to a 'sitting-room' where you can make tea or coffee at any time, it was blissful. Gave me peace and time to reflect on the crazy thing I was undertaking...

Day 2: walked to Gillingham, going through Rochester. Unfortunately the Cathedral was closed as they were celebrating 'degree day', (can't remember what it is really called in English) for students and their family.
In Gillingham stayed in large hotel at the entrance of town, totally soul-less but convenient. (Basically, I couldn't find anything else). There is a self-service laundry in town, btw. and a sports shop, if you've forgotten anything....I bought an additional dry bag there, in the sales, very wise!

Day 3: walked to Faversham. Stayed in Gladstone guest house which I can warmly recommend. The landlady, Mary, is Irish and a wonderful hostess, the rooms/bathroom are lovely, breakfast was heavenly. It isn't cheap, mind, but then nothing else is on this stretch....

Day 4: walked to Canterbury, stayed in YH. It's a bit out of the way from the centre so if you plan on cooking a meal there, buy your supplies on the way. I had to walk back to the supermarket and back again! The YH was full so we were sleeping in tents. Fine for me but my walking companion didn't sleep much as the camp beds were very short! It also rained heavily all night and the noise was deafening, apparently!
Unlucky with the Cathedral yet again as it was closed for a funeral. Managed to obtain a Credential though from the little office at the entrance.

Day 5: walked to Dover. Then the fun began, I got hopelessly lost a few times. Difficult to look at directions on your phone App when it's pouring down.... Then there were a couple fields which I decided not to cross, the cows didn't look too friendly.
It was also VERY wet and I ended up in bog like conditions. Had to take off my boots and crossed the swamps in my sandals as water/mud came to my calves. Not very pilgrim-like, I know, but I remember swearing a lot at the North Down Way huh.
Ended up walking on the road after that as I needed to get a move on, lol. Only managed to get the ferry I was booked on because it arrived very late.(The weather was atrocious). Had to clean my (very) muddy feet in the basin, in the communal 'ladies'room', feeling elated but getting very odd looks.

Do ask if you have any queries but unfortunately my blog was lost so I have to rely on my memory. Hahaha.

Buen camino, pilgrims!
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Via Tolosana
I've just looked on the trainline.com site. Your information looks about right. The single fare quoted was £29.50 from LHR to Aylesford. It looks doable that evening but flight delays / immigration delys etc would mean you arrive late. I think your suggestion Alwyn is a good one. My daughter stayed twice at Premier Inn hotel Kings Cross (next door to St Pancras station) and said it was good and convenient.
Depending on the time you have, you can walk it of course... My walking companion did just that, from North London and we caught up in Gillingham.
 

Eve Alexandra

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning my first in March '17
6pm. And I've just gotten off the phone with the priory. They've made arrangements for me to arrive late (they are so nice!). This way I can join them for mass in the morning, and then breakfast. My first walk from Aylesford to Rochester isn't very long, so I should have some time in the morning to pray and wander before taking off.

And I called the Cathedral too, and they're going to send me a Pilgrim's Passport for the North Downs Way. I am so excited!

I booked places to stay via booking dot com and one place where I booked with their site online. Not as cheap as the Camino, but this is my dream, and I'm not going to let that stop me.

I just need to decide what the best option is for a walking guide. I'm going to have to find my way not only to the trails, but also from the trail to my overnights. Can anyone make a recommendation for the best option?

Thanks again for all the help!
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
See my earlier post above. The North Downs Way Ordnance Survey map book is excellent. It covers the Pilgrims Way as well. All footpath, bridle paths en route are marked.
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
http://www.northdownsway.co.uk/ndw_useful.html
My copy came from a W.H. Smith stationers / book shop in U.K.
It might be possible to order it on line and have it delivered to your starting point. OR perhaps you could contact a book shop in Rochester and get them to order you a copy.
 
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FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
I now have the book in front to me, here are the details

North Downs Way AZ Adventure
ISBN 978-1-78257-086-8
www.az.co.uk

Geographers A-Z Map Company Ltd
Retail sales +44 1732 783422

1:25 000 scale Ordnance Survey mapping
Book measure 24cm x 13.5 cm and is quite thin and very easy to carry.

Hope this helps
 

Rhun Leeding

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Leon to Santiago - Sept/Oct 2015
Camino Ingles & Santiago to Finisterre & Muxia Sept/Oct 2016
A bit of a problem for those of us with ambitions to be real pilgrims but who live on a big grey damp island off the NW coast of France. Last year I walked from Canterbury to Dover. Then from Calais to Rome. Being at heart deeply lazy I took a ferry for the Dover to Calais section rather than swim and so disqualified myself from being a true pilgrim. Likewise I cheated outrageously in walking from my home in Wales to St Jean Pied de Port by taking not one but TWO ferries on the way. This of course rendered both journeys spiritually null and void: a sacrilegious travesty of pilgrimage. Something for which now I feel deeply guilty and your words have made me see that I should confess all - done that bit above - and seek forgiveness and absolution (Are you reading this @timr ?) .
Have you really done the whole journey in stages from Swansea to SDC? I do have a route in mind, should I ever walk from my parents' house (near Aberystwyth) to SDC, in case redundancy comes my way and I end up with a surplus of both cash and time! Without wishing to be flippant, would a pedalo across to France be suitable and acceptable - and could you then ship said pedalo on to the second ferry leg of the trip? Frederick of Clan Flintoff MBE
 

Eve Alexandra

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning my first in March '17
Well it turns out a lot of the North Downs Way guides don't even go to Canterbury. :/ They take a different route following the Ntl Trail to Dover.

I found a pilgrims way guide on Amazon UK and paid extra in shipping, hoping it will be here before I leave. Fingers crossed...
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
Fingers crossed your book reaches you in time.
If you can get hold of the map book I mentioned it definitely covers Canterbury. The real plus point for me is the route planner section at the back of the book. This gives distances between stages and suggest cafes , accommodation, shops near the trail and gives distances.
 

Eve Alexandra

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning my first in March '17
I just may need to hit a book store for your guide before I set out. it is more confusing than I thought it would be.
 
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
I just may need to hit a book store for your guide
A pity you arrive in London in the evening.

Stanfords is a book shop in London that specialises in maps, and guides etc. And it has a good section on things like the North Downs Way. It seems to be open from 8 am to 8 pm most days.

I mention this as Stanfords is on the Piccadilly line. Get off at Leicester Square and walk up the Cranbourn Street and continue into the street called Long Acre. Stanfords is at 12-14 Long Acre, on your right. When done continue up Long Acre to the Covent Garden station (still on the Piccadilly Line) and continue a few more stops to S Pancras / Kings Cross.
 

Eve Alexandra

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning my first in March '17
Bahhhh...I'm at the point now where I'm trying to decide if Rochester is worth it.

If I go from Aylesford to Thurnham, I could probably switch one of my bookings and then spend the night in London the first night rather than a crazy rush to Aylesford. Then I could hit this bookstore too!

But I was thinking Rochester Cathedral might be a highlight.

Idk what I want to do...
 
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
I'm trying to decide if Rochester is worth it
I had wondered about going backwards to Rochester from Aylesford then back to Turnham.

A simpler trip might be:
1) stop at the place you mentioned above near Kings Cross
2) next morning return two stops to Stanfords and back to S Pancras
3) train to Rochester (about 40 minutes), rubber neck the town, Cathedral and Castle and stop over
4) next day walk to Aylesford (about 10 to 12 miles) and stop over
5) next day continue more or less as originally planned

I've been to Rochester Cathedral twice. For me the standout "point of difference" was the fresco in the north transept (and you might wonder, as I am told many school boys do, why Jesus is giving the fingers: but I am sure you know the symbolism).

Kia kaha (take care)
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
I just may need to hit a book store for your guide before I set out. it is more confusing than I thought it would be.
I've just looked on-line. There's Baggins Book Store in Rochester near the Cathedral www.bagginbooks.co.uk
if you get in touch and ask they may well order the map book and have it waiting for you when you arrive. Worth a try.
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
Re. overnight stop in London, as your flight doesn't arrive until 18.00 then inevitable waits for luggage collection and customs / immigration at LHR you might be very late getting to Kent that evening. I am not sure I would want to do that train journey at night having just been on a long flight.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Have you really done the whole journey in stages from Swansea to SDC?
I cheated and took a ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo, and another across the Gironde from Royan to near Soulac. I walked the rest of the way in an unconventional order: St Jean to Santiago, then Swansea to St Jean. A pedalo would not be high on my list of suitable craft for crossing the channel!
 
Camino(s) past & future
.
Well it turns out a lot of the North Downs Way guides don't even go to Canterbury. :/ They take a different route following the Ntl Trail to Dover.
A couple of years ago I did a circular walk starting in Canterbury, taking the Pilgrim's Way and then NDW to Folkestone and then Dover and then back up to Canterbury on the traditioinal PW route. The signage into Canterbury was very good, as was the signage from Dover to Canterbury. So don't be concerned if your guide doesn't arrive, as it's all straightforward. As others have mentioned above, the relatively new website www.pilgrimswaycanterbury.org is very handy.
 

Eve Alexandra

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning my first in March '17
Re. overnight stop in London, as your flight doesn't arrive until 18.00 then inevitable waits for luggage collection and customs / immigration at LHR you might be very late getting to Kent that evening. I am not sure I would want to do that train journey at night having just been on a long flight.
Yeah I've been wondering about this too. How much time should I allot for customs, etc, before I am free? I am going to need to get an English Sim Card, hopefully at the airport, too.
 

Eve Alexandra

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning my first in March '17
A couple of years ago I did a circular walk starting in Canterbury, taking the Pilgrim's Way and then NDW to Folkestone and then Dover and then back up to Canterbury on the traditioinal PW route. The signage into Canterbury was very good, as was the signage from Dover to Canterbury. So don't be concerned if your guide doesn't arrive, as it's all straightforward. As others have mentioned above, the relatively new website www.pilgrimswaycanterbury.org is very handy.
This is good to know. Thank you.
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
Customs clearance etc. especially at LHR is an unknown quantity, perhaps allow an hour but it could be more, could be less. It depends how many flights arrive at the same time (and where the flights are from, passengers from some countries may be held longer at immigration than others) and how many staff are on duty.

re. U.K. Sim card. If you don't want to hang around at the airport to buy a sim card most sizeable towns in U.K. will have phone shops that will sell you one. Rochester, Canterbury very likely.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
re. U.K. Sim card. If you don't want to hang around at the airport to buy a sim card most sizeable towns in U.K. will have phone shops that will sell you one. Rochester, Canterbury very likely.
Pre-paid SIM cards in the UK do not need to be registered to a named account and can be bought for £1 or less in supermarkets, corner shops, Pound stores and the like. They are often found right beside the check-out counter. You can also buy vouchers for call/data credit in many places including newsagents and supermarkets. You do not have to buy either from a specialist phone shop. Just decide which network offers the deal you find most attractive and you can buy a SIM for that network with no formalities almost anywhere.
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
Indeed Bradypus. I only suggested phone shops as an alternative to searching around the airport to buy a sim card.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
I've just looked on-line. There's Baggins Book Store in Rochester near the Cathedral www.bagginbooks.co.uk
if you get in touch and ask they may well order the map book and have it waiting for you when you arrive. Worth a try.
That's www.bagginsbooks.co.uk
Don't go in there! Terrible place! You'll go in for a browse around and come out with a dozen or so gloriously heavy, hardbacked books! ;)
Actually it's a fabulous Alladin's cave of a place selling second hand books. Not sure if they actually sell new ones though.
You have been warned!
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
When I looked at their website it said they have new books too and could order books.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
Bahhhh...I'm at the point now where I'm trying to decide if Rochester is worth it.

If I go from Aylesford to Thurnham, I could probably switch one of my bookings and then spend the night in London the first night rather than a crazy rush to Aylesford. Then I could hit this bookstore too!

But I was thinking Rochester Cathedral might be a highlight.

Idk what I want to do...
Bahhhh...I'm at the point now where I'm trying to decide if Rochester is worth it.

If I go from Aylesford to Thurnham, I could probably switch one of my bookings and then spend the night in London the first night rather than a crazy rush to Aylesford. Then I could hit this bookstore too!

But I was thinking Rochester Cathedral might be a highlight.

Idk what I want to do...
Rochester Cathedral is wonderful with great acoustics (my daughter used to sing in the Girls Choir there) - terrific carved wooden roof and look at the new glass doors:
upload_2017-3-3_22-20-8.png

The Priory in Aylesford is very serene except at weekends, look out too for the old stone bridge over the Medway. Sadly the Little Gem pub - reputed to have been the smallest in Kent (the clue is in the name - more than four people and the pub was full to the brim!) - is no more.

When you get to Thurnham (pronounced Turn'em) there's a little village called Bearsted (pronounced Beerstid - they speak funny in those parts) to the south of the PW. The diversion will add an hour to your walk but, if you need food, there is a great deli called Rickwoods on the green. Fabulous pies and bread or they'll make up rolls and sandwiches which you can eat on the cricket green across the road - they've been playing there since 1749 (that's a date not a time). Be wary of the jam doughnuts - a LOT of jam goes inside, and comes out, of them!
Baroness Orczy of Scarlet Pimpernel fame live here and there's a very sweet parish church with a sad memorial to the last man to be hanged in England for setting fire to a hay rick, made even more poignant by the fact that he was innocent.

Otherwise keep on the PW to Hollingbourne where you can dine at the Dirty Habit pub parts of which go back to the 11th century.

Local knowledge can be a wonderful thing (sometimes!)
 

Eve Alexandra

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning my first in March '17
Rochester Cathedral is wonderful with great acoustics (my daughter used to sing in the Girls Choir there) - terrific carved wooden roof and look at the new glass doors:
View attachment 32247

The Priory in Aylesford is very serene except at weekends, look out too for the old stone bridge over the Medway. Sadly the Little Gem pub - reputed to have been the smallest in Kent (the clue is in the name - more than four people and the pub was full to the brim!) - is no more.

When you get to Thurnham (pronounced Turn'em) there's a little village called Bearsted (pronounced Beerstid - they speak funny in those parts) to the south of the PW. The diversion will add an hour to your walk but, if you need food, there is a great deli called Rickwoods on the green. Fabulous pies and bread or they'll make up rolls and sandwiches which you can eat on the cricket green across the road - they've been playing there since 1749 (that's a date not a time). Be wary of the jam doughnuts - a LOT of jam goes inside, and comes out, of them!
Baroness Orczy of Scarlet Pimpernel fame live here and there's a very sweet parish church with a sad memorial to the last man to be hanged in England for setting fire to a hay rick, made even more poignant by the fact that he was innocent.

Otherwise keep on the PW to Hollingbourne where you can dine at the Dirty Habit pub parts of which go back to the 11th century.

Local knowledge can be a wonderful thing (sometimes!)
Oh my gosh this is amazing! I'm taking a screenshot of your notes so I'll have them with me when I get there. Thank you!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (4/2016)
Bradypus and I walked the Pilgrims Way from Winchester to Canterbury in two sections of five days, plus a day to finish off a few years ago. There will be reports about it on my blog - if you google 'pilgimpace pilgrims way' they will come up.
I enjoyed it a lot, although the second week was truly awful weather - on the wet chalk we were struggling to make 1mph. Lots of good memories of it

Andy
I plan on walking the Pilgrim's Way from Winchester to Canterbury in the spring of 2018. On of the ladies with our party wonders if there is a transport service for her back pack like there is on the Camino de Santiago. Would you know who I could ask?
 

gollygolly

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2000, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
By coincidence, as it is only on an occasional basis that I look at this forum, currently sat at the airport at Santiago de Compestella awaiting the flight out of here having completed the walking of the Pilgrims Way followed by the Camino Ingles from La Coruna.

More on the walking once I get the time, but in answer to your question - there is no transfer service for backpacks on the Pilgrims Way that I know of. The Pilgrims Way is beautiful and certainly one of the most magnificent and memorable of walks that I have done, but do not expect much in the way of facilities for walkers, including very poor signage along the route.

Finally, while I hope to write more about the whole experience within the next month, do allow time for the Pilgrims Way. We walked from Salisbury to Winchester in 2 days - fine. From Winchester to Canterbury we walked in 8 days - I would suggest that 10 days would be better.

Very best - and Bon Camino !

y
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
I just googled Luggage carrying services for walkers UK and got various websites. These services do happen on certain long distance routes but at a quick glance I didn't see anything mentioned for the Pilgrims Way.
Perhaps enquire at the Cathedral offices. An alternative might be to arrange for luggage transfer by taxi but that's not a cheap option.
I don't think there's anything to match the simple bag transfer facilities on the CF.
 
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Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I don't think there's anything to match the simple bag transfer facilities on the CF.
I have not heard of any luggage transfer services for independent walkers on the Pilgrim's Way - only for those who choose to buy a complete package from a travel company. I came across this example today: http://loadoffyourback.co.uk/?page=walk&country=england&id=england_001 The huge service industry supporting the Camino Frances in particular and the other major Spanish caminos mean that walking in Spain is a very different experience from routes in most other countries.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (4/2016)
By coincidence, as it is only on an occasional basis that I look at this forum, currently sat at the airport at Santiago de Compestella awaiting the flight out of here having completed the walking of the Pilgrims Way followed by the Camino Ingles from La Coruna.

More on the walking once I get the time, but in answer to your question - there is no transfer service for backpacks on the Pilgrims Way that I know of. The Pilgrims Way is beautiful and certainly one of the most magnificent and memorable of walks that I have done, but do not expect much in the way of facilities for walkers, including very poor signage along the route.

Finally, while I hope to write more about the whole experience within the next month, do allow time for the Pilgrims Way. We walked from Salisbury to Winchester in 2 days - fine. From Winchester to Canterbury we walked in 8 days - I would suggest that 10 days would be better.

Very best - and Bon Camino !

y
Thank you so much for taking the time to write me. Please continue to think of me as you post more about your pilgrimage and/or have any information on the backpack transport.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (4/2016)
I just googled Luggage carrying services for walkers UK and got various websites. These services do happen on certain long distance routes but at a quick glance I didn't see anything mentioned for the Pilgrims Way.
Perhaps enquire at the Cathedral offices. An alternative might be to arrange for luggage transfer by taxi but that's not a cheap option.
I don't think there's anything to match the simple bag transfer facilities on the CF.
Thank you for your suggestion about calling the cathedral, I will do that.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (4/2016)
I just googled Luggage carrying services for walkers UK and got various websites. These services do happen on certain long distance routes but at a quick glance I didn't see anything mentioned for the Pilgrims Way.
Perhaps enquire at the Cathedral offices. An alternative might be to arrange for luggage transfer by taxi but that's not a cheap option.
I don't think there's anything to match the simple bag transfer facilities on the CF.
Thank you so much for. Your reply.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (4/2016)
I have not heard of any luggage transfer services for independent walkers on the Pilgrim's Way - only for those who choose to buy a complete package from a travel company. I came across this example today: http://loadoffyourback.co.uk/?page=walk&country=england&id=england_001 The huge service industry supporting the Camino Frances in particular and the other major Spanish caminos mean that walking in Spain is a very different experience from routes in most other countries.
I have not heard of any luggage transfer services for independent walkers on the Pilgrim's Way - only for those who choose to buy a complete package from a travel company. I came across this example today: http://loadoffyourback.co.uk/?page=walk&country=england&id=england_001 The huge service industry supporting the Camino Frances in particular and the other major Spanish caminos mean that walking in Spain is a very different experience from routes in most other countries.
I have emailed one of these companies and will wait for their feedback. Thank you for your help; I will keep searching.
 

gollygolly

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2000, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
Thank you so much for taking the time to write me. Please continue to think of me as you post more about your pilgrimage and/or have any information on the backpack transport.
I will be making a future post about the Pilgrims Way, though before that would like to really encourage you, anybody and everybody to seriously consider walking the Pilgrims Way.

It is stunningly beautiful !! It is tremendously uplifting !!! It should be as 'popular' as the Camino Frances is, but sadly it seems to be ignored or has become forgotten

And, if time allows, try to start at Salisbury Cathedral and walk the Clarendon Way that links Salisbury with Winchester.

Do not expect to meet many other walkers / pelegrinos along the way, but do expect a very warm welcome from almost anyone you meet and especially at the Cathedral in Canterbury, Salisbury and Winchester. Would strongly suggest attending Evensong at each of these Cathedrals for the wonderful and uplifting service.

The on-line site of Canterbury Cathedral is very helpful :

https://www.canterbury-cathedral.org/visit/pilgrimage/

and you may gain something from reading

The Pilgrim's Way: To Canterbury from Winchester and London

by Leigh Watts / ISBN-13: 978-1852847777

Would also strongly urge allowing sufficient time for this wonderful Pilgrimage, as I believe that there is so much to gain from walking it.

Bon Camino !
 

gollygolly

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2000, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
Walking The Pilgrims Way

For me, there are an insufficient number of superlatives to describe the Pilgrims Way, which in places is stunningly beautiful and begins and ends at two of the world's most magnificent Cathedrals. It may be useful to commence by relating my 12 year old daughter's near indifference to my proposal of walking the Pilgrims Way. For her, a route that does not culminate at the Cathedral of Santiago to Compostela cannot be a proper pilgrimage. Previously, she had the same view for walking the Camino San Salvador, commencing in Leon and ending in Oviedo. In the end, following the completion of what was an extremely arduous walk, she capitulated and accepted that the Camino de San Salvador had been a worthwhile experience. Moving forward in time with the proposal of walking of the Pilgrims Way, it was as if her previous change of heart had been forgotten and once more she was about to end a walk far from the steps of the Cathedral of Santiago to Compostela, and was almost indifferent to the planned walk, as after all what sort of pilgrimage walk can that be which is not ending at Santiago ?
The solution was to first walk the Pilgrims Way and after that to walk the Camino Inglés, commencing at La Coruna and ending at Santiago de Compestela.

I write this as a prelude so as to convey my daughter's hesitation prior to our leaving for Salisbury. Only after we had fulfilled our objective of reaching Canterbury, would the young pellegrina announce her the view that this had been one of the most beautiful of the walks that we have shared.

For myself, I could not agree more. My extremely scant recollections from when I first walked the Pilgrims Way, which was many years previous, had not recalled just how beautiful the scenery and nature of this walk is, as well as how stunning each of the Cathedrals are. We were extremely fortunate to have a warm welcome at each of the Cathedrals, and privileged to have the experience of being at Evensong with their wonderful choirs. If we had walked a week later, the youngsters that form such an important part of each of the choirs would have been on their summer holidays. With our walk coinciding with the last week of the school year, the youngsters were still in attendance.

The blessings and highlights from our walk are numerous and very difficult to place any order to. The weather on each of the days that we walked was favourable, even if my daughter had a feeling somewhere that she needed to bring out her rain cape to give it an airing, the truth is that the sun was out for the great majority of the time. We walked along paths through some wonderful countryside,

A word of caution about our walk. For many different reasons we were undertaking the entire 'venture' in a total of 11 days, which included 2 days for getting to Salisbury and 1 day for the return from Canterbury. This was a personal planning error, as 9 days for the actual walk between Salisbury and Canterbury is woefully inadequate to fully appreciate all that there is between.

For the following, all figures are taken from the app on the phone, and the distance / steps / floors is for the whole day, and so will include any distance walked and recorded after having reached the destination of that day


So, to the actual walk :

Day 1 : Wednesday June 28th. Travel to Salisbury
The main 'objective' of the day was a visit to the Cathedral and attending Evensong. We had the first stamp placed in the Credencial del Pelegrino as well as in The Pilgrims Way passports that we were carrying, and additionally, while stood at the stunning font in the centre of the Cathedral received a personal benediction for our walk. Who could have possibly wanted more ?

Day 2 : Thursday June 29th. Salisbury to Kings Sombourne
Started walking at 7:08am arrival at 4:14pm
Recorded distance 25.5kms / steps walked 37488 / flights climbed 16
As we were staying in the centre of Salisbury, it was a very short walk before we were on our intended route and the relatively easy exit from the city. It is not long before the city is left behind and there is an impressive view back towards the soaring steeple of the Cathedral, the tallest steeple in the UK and the second tallest in Europe. At this stage we were not yet on The Pilgrims Way, which commences at Winchester Cathedral, but walking The Clarendon Way, which links the Cathedrals of Salisbury and Winchester, and largely follows the River Itchen. This was not a very demanding days walk, and we had time to stop for Thai lunch in a pub in Broughton. We reached our destination, which was our overnight accommodation in a shepherds hut slightly outside Kings Sombourne.

Day 3 : Friday June 30th. Kings Sombourne to Winchester
Started walking at 6:35am arrival at 12:08pm
Recorded distance 31.8kms / steps walked 43906 / flights climbed 29
After retracing our route back to Kings Sombourne, we returned to the well marked Clarendon Way, passing the very curious Farley Mount monument to a horse named 'Beware Chalk Pit'. Perhaps because we missed a sign, our entry into Winchester had us a little disorientated, but we finally made it to our initial 'destination', the Hospital of St Cross, in the southern area of Winchester. This is a fascinating place, an alms house that dates back to 1132, and is the oldest charitable institution in the UK. We followed a tradition of asking for our 'Wayfarer's Dole', which is a small mug of beer along with some bread, served to us by one of 'The Brothers'. A wonderful tradition. We found our accommodation, left our backpacks behind and headed out to see what we could of Winchester, concentrating on the Cathedral, including Jane Austin's grave and the house where she spent the last of her days prior to her premature death and which is near the Cathedral. Once again, we had the great pleasure of being at Evensong, which was again followed by a personal benediction for our walk and the stamps being placed in our Credencial and Pilgrim Passport.

Day 4 : Saturday July 1st. Winchester to Alton
Started walking at 6:52am arrival at 5:44pm
Recorded distance 36.8kms / steps walked 52672 / flights climbed 16
With the completion the day before of The Clarendon Way, this was our first day walking on The Pilgrims Way. We did not have such an easy time of finding signage for The Pilgrims Way, though no problem with seeing plaques for other routes, and especially for St Swithun's Way, which largely follows that of The Pilgrims Way. While seeing a granite stone marking The Pilgrims Way set in the wall of the Church at Kings Worthy and another set in the pathway at St John's Church in Itchen Abbas, we saw very little that was indicating or marking the route, though plenty to mark other routes. This was another day that we unintentionally missed the route, and somehow went adrift. It was then that we had a surprise when asking for directions from locals ! "Never heard of The Pilgrims Way" was the response that we twice received from people who declared that they had lived in the area all their lives. Oh, help ! We eventually were reoriented, realising how accustomed we are to the yellow arrows and other indicators on the Caminos in Spain. We stopped for a sandwich lunch, eating this while sat listening to the pealing of the bells at St John's Church in New Alresford, which were being rung uninterrupted for 3 hours. Continuing, and as the day progressed and the heat from the sun increased it was a very welcome break that we had at the Church of St Nicholas in Bishops Sutton. Like St John's Church in the morning, this was open and with a stamp for the pilgrim passport as well as some light refreshments left for pilgrims. Stunning hospitality and very appreciated. Continuing, we passed through Chawton so as to see the house where Jane Austen lived, but lacked the energy to stop for long, so continued to find our accommodation in Alton. This had been a longer and more tiring day then envisaged, so the excellent supper and friendly 'host' at our AirBnb room was a welcome restorative, especially for the young pellegrina who finished off the day watching a Jane Austen film, which seemed very appropriate so close to where she lived.

Day 5 : Sunday July 2nd. Alton to Puttenham
Started walking at 6:58am arrival at 4:28pm
Recorded distance 35.6kms / steps walked 48751 / flights climbed 31
A good nights sleep allowed for us to feel refreshed as we left Alton, passed through the beautiful Upper and Lower Froyle. We looked in at the church near Froyle Park, and encouraged them to get a stamp for stamping the pilgrims passports ; this was not to be the only church along the way that we encouraged ! We stopped for mid-morning tea at the delightful Anchor Inn, before passing St Mary's Church in Bentley with its extraordinary yew tree in the churchyard. While the Church was open, there was no stamp ! All the while we are walking, we do not see signs for The Pilgrims Way, though plenty for the Watercress Way ! We avoid going into the centre of Farnham, and arrive at the beginning of the North Downs Way. This route significantly 'shadows' the route of The Pilgrims Way, but sadly waymarking for The Pilgrims Way is not in evidence. A beautiful walk took us to our destination that day of Puttenham. Our overnight stay was in a converted barn that is allegedly built over 200 years previously, and certainly felt like it ! The Church of St John the Baptist was almost next door, was open and had a stamp for the passport, so duly 'stamped-up' we continued to the pub for supper.

Day 6 : Monday July 3rd. Puttenham to Reigate
Started walking at 5:32am arrival at 7:56pm
Recorded distance 39.7kms / steps walked 58372 / flights climbed 156
We had known that this was going to be a long day, hence the early start, but had not imagined that it was going to be this long, nor that the climb up over the Hog's Back was going to be quite such a demand on the lungs ! It was, however, another day of walking through stunning scenery. The early part of the day took us past the Church of St Martha on the Hill, though the church was sadly closed. Quite stunning views and within the graveyard are the graves of Bernard Freyberg and his son Paul. The name of the father may be familiar - look it up for the story of an incredible account of one of the most decorated of men. We were more fortunate when passing St Barnabas, a church built by the Cubitt family to a design by Sir George Gilbert Scott, with a wealth of different stone and finishes. A very interesting church, but no stamp for the passport ! As the day advanced and we had had the fun of the stone crossing of the River Mole at the foot of Box Hill, we then had some real exercise to do. We negotiated our way up Box Hill, soon to be followed by the Buckland Hills, Colley Hill and Reigate Hill, and with our energy really flagging, it seemed to take forever before we arrived at our accommodation for the night, located on the outskirts of Reigate.

Day 7 : Tuesday July 4th. Reigate to Wrotham
Started walking at 7:28am arrival at 7:14pm
Recorded distance 35.9kms / steps walked 51099 / flights climbed 115
While knowing that today was going to be another 'monster day', we set out later then would have been best, but with a substantial breakfast consumed. This was another day walking through stunning landscapes - indeed walking through Nut Wood there are a number of frames set on posts that invite the person passing to look at the landscape through the frame, as if thinking of a Constable scene without the canvas. In Gatton Park we passed the impressive - at least for me - 'Millenium Stones' by Richard Kindersley. The rather splendid looking St Katharine's Church in Merstham was, sadly, closed so we continued on our path through the beautiful north Surrey countryside. We once again became adrift from The Pilgrims Way just after Titsey Place and walked the North Downs Way, and consequently missed passing Chevening Park. It also added quite a distance to what we walked, and it was quite late by the time we arrived at Wrotham and the place that we were staying for the night, which was an old coaching inn dating from the 14th century, though fortunately updated to the 21st century, so we headed straight for a shower before an excellent supper and finally heads on the pillow.

Day 8 : Wednesday July 5th. Wrotham to Aylesford
Started walking at 8:07am arrival at 4:04pm
Recorded distance 29.2kms / steps walked 42031 / flights climbed 70
While where we stayed was just a few steps from St George's Church, the church was sadly solidly closed, so we continued and yet once more, came adrift from The Pilgrims Way and followed the North Down Way, with our necessity to make the crossing of the River Medway, but did this at Rochester and not at Snodland, and by doing so I suspect that we once again walked a few extra kms. The destination for the day was The Friars in Aylesford, a wonderful and peaceful Carmelite priory dating from the mid-13th Century. It is an extraordinary place and one where I have a desire to return to one day, as a single overnight stay felt quite inadequate. Although the food offering was rather basic, it nonetheless felt wonderful to be having our supper in the magnificent Pilgrims Hall.

Day 9 : Thursday July 6th. Aylesford to Wye
Started walking at 5:30am arrival at 5:00pm
Recorded distance 43.3kms / steps walked 57372 / flights climbed 28
Once again, knowing that we had quite a distance to cover, we left early. With much of the mornings walk passing along road that takes its name from the walk - 'Pilgrims Way' - we did not go adrift. There were even a couple of old road signs where the scallop shell featured along with the 'Pilgrims Way'. We also found another church, All Saints in Hollingbourne that was open and which had a stamp for the passport, before stopping for tea and ice-cream at a delightful pub on the green at Boughton Lees, a necessary stop on what was possibly the hottest day of our walk. From there it was not too far to Wye, which is where we spent our final night before Canterbury. A very pleasant town, we hardly slept during the night due to the high temperature, and we clearly were not the only guests in need of taking cool showers during the middle of the night.

Day 10 : Friday July 7th. Wye to Canterbury
Started walking at 8:04am arrival at 2:21pm
Recorded distance 28.1kms / steps walked 38347 / flights climbed 30
After a very satisfactory breakfast, we set out for the final day towards Canterbury. We were soon passing through Godmersham Park, with its historic connection with Jane Austen, adding to the other obvious Jane Austen connections that we had had in Hampshire. We then passed through the magnificent village of Chilham, with its impressive Chilham Castle. We stopped for a while at the Church, where they were raising money by way of a coffee and cake offering, and we willingly obliged. There is a curious sculpture in the town, titled 'Pilgrims Milestone' about which I had mixed views. There were no mixed views about the town, which possibly ranks as one of the prettiest in Kent. After Chilham we passed through Chartham Hatch, but deviated at that point to join the path along the Stour River, which seemed refreshing to us on another warm day. It is a beautiful walk on the river bank, and eventually the tower of Canterbury Cathedral came into view. It would still be a little while before we were within the town and at the Cathedral Gate and passing through to the precincts. There are generally a range of personal feelings that arise at the culmination of any pilgrimage, and this was no exception. We had covered the distance from Salisbury in a relatively short time, and certainly a lot faster then I would recommend. We had had many positive experiences, passed through stunning countryside, seen many magnificent trees - Cathedrals to nature as a good friend has titled such magnificent trees, been blessed with stunning weather and arrived at Canterbury Cathedral as originally planned. What we had not been aware of was just how tremendously warm our reception would be. We were the very honoured 'guests' on what is quite a special day in the Canterbury Cathedral calendar, as we had arrived on the day that celebrates the enshrinement/translation of St Thomas Becket. This feast of the translation of St Thomas Becket commemorates the translation of the martyr’s relics on 7th July 1220, when they were moved from the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral to a new shrine at the East end of the Cathedral. Many years later the shrine and the remains were destroyed by Henry VIII, and today the place of the former shrine is marked by a permanently lit candle. Today the 7th July is recognised with a special evensong culminating in the assembled congregation moving to the place of the Martyrdom and the former shrine. It was a very moving service, which was followed by a personal blessing being given to us, for our safe arrival at Canterbury and for our planned continued walk to Santiago de Compestela.

The final detail of the day was our overnight stay at the Cathedral Gate Hotel, where I had booked our room some time previously when planning the walk, and had reserved the bedroom with views that face straight on to the Cathedral. We lay on the bed looking out of the open window on to one of the most splendid Cathedrals in the world and felt truly blessed.

It seems superfluous to write about the walk from La Coruña to Santiago de Compestela that we undertook following our completing The Pilgrims Way, but it was a contrast in many ways. I was not that impressed by much of the more recently built La Coruña, a town that I had not visited previously, although the old part of the town is charming and the Igrexa de Santiago (Church of Santiago) in La Coruña is delightful. We had a relatively easy hop, skip and a jump to cover the distance between La Coruña and Santiago de Compestela, and had another of our 'privileged' moments, being able to participate at evening mass at the small chapel which is just beyond the albergue at Bruma (Hospital de Bruma). This may not seem that big a deal, except that mass is apparently celebrated in the chapel on only one evening each month. And finally, in the same way as it is for many, cannot believe that I will ever tire of arriving and being at beautiful and uplifting Santiago de Compestela.

Overall, a wonderful experience walking The Pilgrims Way, though a total mystery to me as to why there are so few who do it. Poor signage ? No albergues for accommodation ? Would personally love for this amazing pilgrimage route to be receiving a lot more attention and devotees, as it merits far greater numbers.
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
A very interesting account of your walk in the Pilgrim's Way. I attend St Barnabas church at Ranmore and will ask them about having a stamp for pilgrims. Unfortunately the church though open most Sunday mornings, it is not open every day.
St Martha's on the Hill is worth a visit when open. They have one or two pilgrim relics including a shell, on display.
The daily distances you walked were impressive!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (4/2016)
As a prelude to walking the Camino Ingles from La Coruna in July this year, I am intending to walk from Salisbury Cathedral to Winchester and then along the Pilgrims Way to Canterbury Cathedral.

If any forum members have some useful advice about the Pilgrims Way that they are willing to share, it will be very welcomed.

Thanks in advance.
I think I just sent you a private message, but will reply later. I am very curious about this thread. I will be walking The Pilgrims Way May 23-June 3, 2018. Thank you.
 

gollygolly

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2000, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
A very interesting account of your walk in the Pilgrim's Way. I attend St Barnabas church at Ranmore and will ask them about having a stamp for pilgrims. Unfortunately the church though open most Sunday mornings, it is not open every day.
St Martha's on the Hill is worth a visit when open. They have one or two pilgrim relics including a shell, on display.
The daily distances you walked were impressive!!
I was disappointed to not have had a brief look inside St Martha's on the Hill, set in such an incredible and commanding location, though fully understand that in its isolated position it would be very vulnerable. It was also slightly personal for me to be able to see the graves for the very distinguished Freyborg father and son, as there is a tenuous connection.

With the rubber stamps for the Pilgrims Passport, it is a debatable issue as to whether if more of the Churches along the Way had these stamps there would be more pilgrims. It certainly is my personal choice to look in on the Churches that we pass, and the fastidious person that I am, it is the only the stamp from a Church that I chose to go in to The Pilgrims Way passport. May I suggest that if the Church chooses to have a rubber stamp made, that the arrangement at a few of the Churches that we passed was to leave the stamp on a chain, along with the ink pad - see the attached !
 

Attachments

gollygolly

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2000, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
I think I just sent you a private message, but will reply later. I am very curious about this thread. I will be walking The Pilgrims Way May 23-June 3, 2018. Thank you.
You will love it, though I cannot urge strongly enough that if circumstances allow, do not rush walking The Pilgrims Way. It is a walk that was for me very uplifting in so many respects, though circumstances were such that were I to plan it again I would allow at least 3 more days for the walking plus an extra day for Winchester as well as Canterbury.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
Delightful - thank you for sharing, though you never claimed the offered dinner! :)

A shame, we have some great restaurants in Canterbury. Next time eh?
 

gollygolly

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2000, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
Jeff - I am so, so sorry that we never made contact. Totally my fault as I was attempting to squeeze far too much into far too short a time. The future is always hard if not impossible to predict, but I have made a pledge that I will return to Canterbury, possibly to walk the very short Way of St Augustin. My wife is not into the walking at all, but I have dangled the carrot of just how worthwhile Canterbury and Canterbury Cathedral are for visiting, and very much hope that we will return before too many full moons have passed, and walk the Way of St Augustine. In which case, I will be back in contact.
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
A bit of a problem for those of us with ambitions to be real pilgrims but who live on a big grey damp island off the NW coast of France. Last year I walked from Canterbury to Dover. Then from Calais to Rome. Being at heart deeply lazy I took a ferry for the Dover to Calais section rather than swim and so disqualified myself from being a true pilgrim. Likewise I cheated outrageously in walking from my home in Wales to St Jean Pied de Port by taking not one but TWO ferries on the way. This of course rendered both journeys spiritually null and void: a sacrilegious travesty of pilgrimage. Something for which now I feel deeply guilty and your words have made me see that I should confess all - done that bit above - and seek forgiveness and absolution (Are you reading this @timr ?) .
Only seeing this for first time today! :) Off to finish CdeMadrid tomorrow. BUT thinking now of starting in Winch (where my sister lives) to go to Canterbury on way to Rome next year. And definitely will NOT swim the channel!!:(
 

VNwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Overall, a wonderful experience walking The Pilgrims Way, though a total mystery to me as to why there are so few who do it.
No movie??;)
(I just stumbled on this thread, and am grateful to all for the information!)
 

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