Today, a group of walkers and pilgrims are making history and making the inaugural walk of The Way of St Augustine. This is a new route connecting the Shrine of St Augustine in Ramsgate to Canterbury. Setting off this morning from the ancient place of pilgrim hospitality, The Eastbridge Hospital, Canterbury, they will continue to make their way through Canterbury, along the Stour Valley and finishing tomorrow, Wednesday 27th May at the Shrine of St. Augustine in Ramsgate, with a special celebratory service.
The route follows in the footsteps (or the wake) of St Augustine from his landing place near Pegwell Bay in AD 597, through the East Kent countryside, to Canterbury, where he established his Cathedral, and became the first Archbishop.
The route has been developed in conjunction with Explore Kent, and the Shrine of St Augustine and the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT), all working together under the banner of the Green Pilgrimage Network Canterbury Partnership, an initiative run by the Diocese of Canterbury. The route has been developed in order to encourage people to explore beyond Canterbury and the traditional long-distance pilgrim routes, to rediscover some of the early Kentish saints, and support rural and spiritual tourism in the Diocese.
The Way of St Augustine is approximately 17 miles long, and in order to appreciate the landscape of the Stour valley, and the historic churches (and pubs) along the way, is best tackled over two days. Participants on the launch walk will stop overnight to experience ‘champing’ – church camping – at the delightful CCT owned All Saints Church at West Stourmouth.
The CCT has been developing the concept of “champing” (church camping) packages in several of its churches, and the Way of St Augustine is providing a pilot for a slightly different model of simple, low cost, authentic overnight accommodation for pilgrims.
The Way of St Augustine can be walked in either direction, and there are also some alternative means of transport available too – canoe trips with local company, Canoe Wild, and river pilgrimages from Sandwich, as well as cycle routes which touch upon of the places along the Way. Pilgrims are encouraged to be as green as possible and to arrive at Canterbury or Ramsgate by train. For the launch, Canoe Wild will mirror the walking pilgrimage with canoe trips along the River Stour.
Find out more about the route at Explore Kent: http://explorekent.org/news/discover-champing-on-the-way-of-st-augustine
Further information from: Emily Shepherd, Director of Communications, Canterbury Diocese 01227 459 401, 07876 210 446, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Walkers on the route of St Augustine