Drum roll please … in a first for the Association of English Cathedrals we will be livestreaming the launch of Britain’s Pilgrim Places – the first complete guide to every spiritual treasure – including all our medieval English cathedrals and some Welsh ones too – and the paths that connect them.
Did we tell you 2020 was still Year of Cathedrals, Year of Pilgrimage …?
To turn a walk into a pilgrimage, at the beginning set your private ‘intention’ – dedicate your journey to something that you want help with, or for which you want to give thanks. Then you will walk with purpose. (Guy Hayward, British Pilgrimage Trust)
Britain’s Pilgrim Places is a collaboration between Naked Hermit and Britain’s Holiest Places author Nick Mayhew-Smith, and the British Pilgrimage Trust who helped us create one-day pilgrimages to every one of our cathedrals to mark 2020 Year of Cathedrals, Year of Pilgrimage.
Special mention to our own guest writer, Marcus Green (you will have read his many ‘Visit’ blogs on this site) who helped with some amazing photographs, particularly of cathedrals.
Between them, the writing and photographic team have visited every UK site in the book, an epic journey beautifully presented for you to enjoy at your own pace, from the armchair or on the path yourself.
The book launch tomorrow (Aug 6) coincides with the slow and careful releasing of lockdown restrictions – and comes at a time when people are looking for new places to visit closer to home and new ways of travelling. All our cathedrals are now Good To Go having been awarded the UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark by Visit Britain which demonstrates to visitors that they are following government and public health guidance in relation to COVID-19.
Nick Mayhew-Smith, said:
“This collaboration with the British Pilgrimage Trust has breathed new life into Britain’s sacred landscapes.
‘’Pilgrimage has woven a thread of life back into our spiritual life, bringing that sense of love, wonder and inspiration through this revival of activity and access.
“We hope this new book will answer a deep desire to connect with holy places and pilgrimage routes – these secret jewels embedded in the British countryside. This desire is having its moment, because people are now ready for a new kind of travel,’ he added.
Guy Hayward, co-founder of the British Pilgrimage Trust, said:
“Pilgrimage is Open to All whatever your beliefs, background, age or physical ability.
“You can set off along a route or from wherever you call home and bring your own beliefs to embrace the full diversity of holy places you will come across –prehistoric, heritage, religious and the natural.
“Slow down, carry as little as possible, settle into a rhythm, connect with yourself and everything around you, and be a positive influence wherever you go. “
Britain’s Pilgrim Places features 500 holy places including sites from every major religion including every medieval cathedral in England and Wales and 48 pilgrimage routes that are all connected by green footpaths.
Pilgrimage – journeying on foot to holy places – was once Britain’s most popular expression of leisure and spirituality, enjoyed by kings and serfs alike. But the tradition was brought to an abrupt end in 1538, when Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell banned pilgrimage in Britain. Ever since, the tradition has been ripe for rediscovering.
Today, there is a global renaissance of pilgrimage – 350,000 pilgrims walk the Camino to Santiago each year, 2.5 million make the Hajj, 25+ million the Arba’een and 50 million the Kumbh Mela.
And we will be live-streaming the launch on our Facebook page at 1pm.
Britain’s Pilgrim Places is available to pre-order or buy on Amazon here.
More about our continuing Year of Cathedrals, Year of Pilgrimage here.
*Photos in this article courtesy of the British Pilgrimage Trust. Thanks!