There are many pilgrim routes across Cornwall, with the most current and high profile one being the Cornish Celtic Way (from St Germans to St Michael’s Mount). Recently undertaken by the Bishop of St Germans, the Rt Revd Chris Goldsmith, the route is 125 miles, incorporating over 60 miles of our beautiful coastline and takes in two ancient pilgrimage routes – St Michael’s Way (Lelant to Marazion) and the Saints Way (Padstow to Fowey).
Why not enjoy all Cornwall has to offer this summer by taking a walk or joining in with one of the pilgrimages organised by the Diocese of Truro? A fantastic resource for people looking at Pilgrimages in our Diocese and further afield is the British Pilgrimage Trust.
Cornish Celtic Way
It might be 125 miles long, but you don’t have to do it all in one stretch! If you hop across to their website, the Cornish Celtic Way, you’ll find plenty of ideas of how to approach it, which segment could suit you best, how to get there, what you can expect to see and how long a particular walk should take.
Devised by the Revd Nigel Marns, based in Ludgvan, the Cornish Celtic Way is a wonderful route, meticulously researched, that can guide you through a spiritual journey of Cornwall. Not just churches, although there are many beautiful ones all along the route, but holy wells, standing stones, meeting places and simple pathways that have been walked and prayed over for centuries. As Revd Marns says, “The aim of the Cornish Celtic Way is to help anyone, of any age, who is interested in spirituality to explore and develop their faith in a different way. Having faith isn’t about just going to a place of worship, it’s about getting out and experiencing it in everyday life as well, taking it into your own hands.”
To find out more about the Cornish Celtic Way, why we think pilgrimages are in the zeitgeist and how Bishop Chris got on, have a look here.
The full route (as walked by Bishop Chris)
Day one: St Germans to Downderry (via Sheviock) – 12km/ 7.5 miles
Day two: Downderry to Schlerder Abbey (via Looe, Talland) – 19km/ 11.9 miles
Day three: Schlerder Abbey to Polkerris (via Lanteglos, Polruan, Fowey) – 12km/ 7.5 miles
Day four: Polkerris to Luxulyan (via Tywardreath, St Blazey) – 12km/ 7.5 miles
Day five: Luxulyan to Withiel (via Lanivet) – 15km/ 9.4 miles
Day six: Withiel to Little Petherick (via St Issey) – 12km/ 7.5 miles
Day seven: Little Petherick to St Eval (via Padstown, Trevone, St Merryn) – 14km/ 8.1 miles
Day ten: St Eval to St Columb Minor (via St Mawgan) – 13km/ 8.1 miles
Day eleven: St Columb Minor to Cubert (via Newquay, Crantock) – 12km/ 7.5 miles
Day twelve: Cubert to Perranporth (via Oratory) – 11km/ 6.9 miles
Day thirteen: Perranporth to Portreath (via St Agnes) – 16km/ 10 miles
Day fourteen: Portreath to Lelant (via Gwithian, Phillack, St Elwyn) – 19km/ 11.9 miles
Day fifteen: Lelant to St Michael’s Mount (via St Ives, Ludgvan, Marazion) – 20km/ 12.5 miles
St Michael’s Way
The Saints’ Way
The Saints’ Way Trail crosses mid-Cornwall from coast to coast covering approximately 30 miles from Padstow to Fowey. It is the ancient route by which Celtic and medieval pilgrims crossed Cornwall on their way to Santiago de Compostella in Northern Spain. The diocese has just launched a Saints’ Way passport and Stamps allowing you to chart your pilgrimage through the 12 churches along the way.
Get your ‘passport’ stamped
The Saints’ Way Trail follows a wonderfully varied course through valleys, woodlands, pastures, moors and villages and you can expect to see some of the most varied and beautiful scenery in the county, inhabited by countless species of flora and fauna. The surrounding countryside is dotted with rolling pastures of ancient farmland, pre-historic remains, ancient bridges, old tracks, quaint churches with a history of welcoming pilgrims and pretty riverside villages.
If you don’t feel like walking the full length of the trail there is a shorter alternative route which passes through the Tywardreath site of a medieval monastic settlement. This route is approximately 11 miles long.
Cornwall Council also has a guide on their website.
The Churches along the route:
St Petroc Church, Padstow; Lanivet Church, Lanivet; St Cyrus & St Julietta Church, Luxulyan; St Petroc Minor Church, Little Petherick; St Brevita Church, Lanlivery; St Blaise Church, St Blazey; St Issey Church, St Issey; St Bartholomew Church, Lostwithiel; St Andrew Church, Tywardreath; St Clement Church, Withiel; St Sampson Church, Golant; St Fimbarrus Church, Fowey.
A fantastic resource for people looking at Pilgrimages in our Diocese is the Cornish Celtic Way and for and further afield, the British Pilgrimage Trust.