The Royal Saxon Way

Royal Saxon Way logo

Walking the countryside is a way to explore the natural and the historical environment.  Walking gives you time to look and to think.  It is not just about the physical well-being that you get from walking.  It is also about the mental well-being you achieve from setting aside time, even just a day, to take a break from the daily routine and experience the world around you.

Walkers by St Eadburgs Well

St Eadburg's Well and the source of the Nail Bourne (© Rob Baldwin)

 

There is increasing interest across Europe in exploring pilgrimage as an activity.  Many people are familiar with the ancient routes to holy shrines, such as Canterbury or Santiago de Compostella in northern Spain.  It is often thought that a pilgrimage has to involve a walk of many days, often many weeks, to reach an actual shrine of a Christian saint.  But though there are such routes, pilgrimage is not just about them.  Even in the Middle Ages, people could make a local pilgrimage to a shrine that could take just a day or two.  The important thing was to take time out from the normal daily grind.

Green Pilgrimage

Green Pilgrimage is a new phenomenon that is being promoted as a means to explore the countryside in a new way.  But what exactly is Green Pilgrimage?  What makes a walk a pilgrimage, and what makes it green?  Hardly surprisingly, this is not a simple question.  Generally, a pilgrimage is more than just going for a walk.  It is about your frame of mind, it is often to a defined destination that may be a site that is thought to be holy, and it may have a lot to do with taking time to reflect on what you see as you pass along the way.  It is a mix of different things, and you should feel better for having done it.  Pilgrimage can be green if you are having a light impact on the environment, using public transport where you can, and consuming locally-produced food and drink.  Think about the carbon footprint.  A pilgrimage walked within 50 miles of your home will have less of an impact on the environment than one where you have to travel 500 miles or more to start (and to come home again afterwards).

Exploring the Royal Saxon Way

 

There are many themed walking routes across the country that have been developed to help people to explore parts of the country that are noted for particular things, both natural and historical.  Working with the EU-funded Green Pilgrimage project, and with the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) who are managing the project locally for Kent County Council, a new pilgrimage route has been created for this corner of Kent under the Pilgrimage in Kent banner.  This will allow you to travel from coast to coast across the ridge of the North Downs, experiencing dramatically different landscape as you do so.  The history of the area is equally rich.  The linear route links together 24 historic churches, including 16 active parish churches, many of which are associated with queens and princesses of the Anglo-Saxon period.  The aim of the route is to put you in mind of the powerful women who shaped the Kingdom of Kent in the early centuries of Christianity, in the 7th and 8th Centuries AD.  Uniquely in Britain, you can encounter shrines with relics of the original Anglo-Saxon princess saints at both ends of the route, and in Lyminge, we have a site where two Anglo-Saxon royal women were venerated.  For this reason, we have called the route the Royal Saxon Way.  You can also read more about what makes this route Saxon.  In addition, there is a shorter circular walk the Royal Saxon Way Loop, that links Folkestone and Lyminge.  Both routes can be downloaded as GPX files from OS Maps.  Alternatively, you can download the route cards as pdfs by following the links below:

 

 Royal Saxon Way route card

 Royal Saxon Way Loop route card

 

 

Using public transport

 

 

We have created a public transport map, which you can download as a pdf or view below, to help you plan your walk along the route in sections.  We hope this will assist you to cover the route over a number of days, facilitating return to your start point each day.

 

Royal Saxon Way Transport Map

(© Susan Hoyle)

 

 

This page is managed by Lyminge Parish Council Historic Environment Working Group