Events: British Pilgrimage Weekends on the South Downs (August 2016 Pilot)


The Pilot Pilgrimage

This August, the British Pilgrimage Trust is piloting a weekend pilgrimage scheme. If there is enough interest, we hope to be running it at Firle Church for the first two weekends in August – 6/7 & 13/14, and at another (as yet unconfirmed) church for the last two weekends 20/21 & 27/28.

This first two-day route begins in Lewes, at the original centre of the ruined St Pancras Priory, once the biggest church in all Sussex – bigger than Chichester Cathedral! It ends in Cuckmere Haven, where England herself ends and begins.

We are working with Firle Church in Sussex – and Peter Owen Jones – to provide overnight accommodation.

The pilgrimage isn’t too long or short – we think it’s just right, a slow but continuous journey with lots of really good places on the way.

Come and try it. No-one will be telling you what to believe or think. It’s just you and the way. There will be great local food – incredible views – breathtaking hills – winding river valleys – astonishing natural beauty – ancient history – as well as the opportunity to connect more deeply with self, land and life.


Come – find adventure, be healthy, meet yourself and others, be in nature and seek wholeness – all through a simple walk. British pilgrimage is open to people of all faiths and no faiths – for people with and without religion.

This route forms part of the pilgrimage route we have recently re-discovered – the South Downs Pilgrims Way – which we intend to become Britain’s flagship pilgrimage route, the one that gets things rolling.

Resting in Peace

The reason for this pilot is to test the idea of churches being accommodation venues – where people making pilgrimage can sleep, even those who are not Christian. This idea has met incredible interest, within and without religious circles. It makes sense on many levels. On pilgrimage, we love sleeping in churches. It feels like the right place to be. And though largely forgotten in England, dreaming is a very well-documented method used widely to engage with holy places.

As well as the elegance of the practicality, we enjoy the kindness and confidence of this gesture. Where better for pilgrims to sleep, than within our great roadside temples?


Following this pilot scheme, we intend to open more pilgrimage weekends along the South Downs Pilgrims Way, using more churches as accommodation venues. Eventually, we hope to encourage churches all over Britain to get involved in this scheme, to open churches and make pilgrimage possible in a single wonderful movement. We believe it is what Britain has been waiting for.

To register your interest in a Sussex weekend pilgrimage this August, please sign-up below:

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