‘Britain’s Pilgrim Places’ Book

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Coming 1 October 2020 is the first complete guide to every spiritual treasure:

• 500 enchanting holy places

• All 48 major pilgrimage routes

• Every medieval cathedral

• Introduction by Simon Jenkins

Published in the middle of the Year of Pilgrimage and the Year of Cathedrals, this book captures the spirit of 2,000 years of history, heritage and wonder.

Produced by the British Pilgrimage Trust and Lifestyle Press Ltd (following the best-selling Britain’s Holiest Places in 2011), marking a revival of interest in pilgrim places, cathedrals and free-form spiritual expression.

This book harnesses the current interest in ancient ways of finding meaning and peace in the landscape, and encapsulates the spirit of this popular connection to the past.

These are the stories of an entire culture of art and inspiration, written and presented in a way that appeals to everyone. The previous book produced by co-author Nick Mayhew-Smith became a 6-part BBC television series in 2013. Interest continues to grow in pilgrim routes, in ways to make meaningful connection to our natural and built heritage. 

This book is a groundbreaking guide to the riches of the land, from wild hermit islands to city-centre cathedrals alike, it captures the timeless quest of the human spirit to connect with the stories of the landscape.

What they say:

“A beautiful book… it reminded me that a pilgrim is not a special kind of person but all of us are potentially special kinds of pilgrims. I have not seen or read anything like this before.”
Satish Kumar, editor emeritus of Resurgence & Ecologist, author of No Destination: Autobiography of a Pilgrim and Founder of Schumacher College

“This cheering guide has good news to tell: that these islands teem with holy places to heal a wounded soul through their sheer beauty, echoes of history, silences or glorious sounds. Revel in the riches on offer, creatively laid out here with scholarship and sensitivity.”
Rev Professor Diarmaid N.J. MacCulloch, Oxford Professor of the History of the Church, author of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years

“Fascinating, uplifting and idiosyncratic – this long-awaited revision of Nick Mayhew-Smith’s earlier work will delight muddy-booted seekers of spiritual solace, and armchair pilgrims alike.”
Ifor ap Glyn, Bardd Cenedlaethol Cymru / National Poet of Wales

“Beautiful in its entirety. A veritable A to Z of every holy shrine that dots our countryside and cityscapes. If you haven’t yet set foot on a pilgrimage path in the UK you now have no excuse. An extraordinary achievement.”
John Brierley, best-selling author of the Camino Guides

“Guy Hayward is a wonderful and inspiring guide, on the page and on the path. Buy and read this, walk the paths, and find new hope and purpose in your life.”
Emma Bridgewater CBE, President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England

“A treasure of a book: erudite, oecumenical, comprehensive and full of surprises.”
Ronald Hutton, Professor of History, Bristol University, specialist in the Reformation, Witchcraft, Pagan Britain and the Ritual Year in Britain

“If, like me, you love walking with a purpose, grab your boots and this book and you are already half way to heaven… a treasure trove for us all.”
Dame Fiona Reynolds, Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, former Director-General of the National Trust, author of The Fight for Beauty

“A truly wonderful book. Reading it makes me want to go on as many of these pilgrim paths as possible. This book is a treasure trove of personal discoveries waiting to be made.”
Rupert Sheldrake PhD, biologist, author of Science and Spiritual Practices

“This fascinating book opens up new vistas for those who want to wander and also to wonder among Britain’s holy places.”
Tina Beattie, Professor of Catholic Studies, University of Roehampton

“This practical and lovely book is a guide to the wonderful terrain of points of intersection with God – our holy places.”
The Very Reverend Adrian Dorber, Dean of Lichfield Cathedral, Chair of the Association of English Cathedrals

“Britain’s Pilgrim Places is a classic. For all who walk, for all who journey, this book not only has some wonderful miles in it, but like the pilgrim routes themselves will stand the test of time.”
Revd Peter Owen-Jones, author of Everest England and Pathlands, and television presenter of BBC’s Extreme Pilgrim series

“We are all searchers and this book makes an excellent companion.”
Tristan Gooley, author of The Natural Navigator

“A fantastic book! A treasure trove for the armchair pilgrim, as well as for those who like to put on their walking boots and go on new adventures.”
Philip Carr-Gomm, author of Sacred Places and Druid Mysteries.

Income generated by this book will be spent by the British Pilgrimage Trust, a nonprofit UK charity, for the purpose of:

– gathering pilgrimage routes around Britain on our website’s directory, both older and newly formed routes, and making available digital maps that can be accessed freely via smartphones that make use of a phone’s GPS capability to tell you where you are. 

– providing freely-accessible templates for anyone to create their own route and host their own guided pilgrimage event.

– overseeing our Sanctuary project – helping pilgrims seek, and local communities provide, sleeping sanctuary at a very reasonable price that will generate income for the local community. Pilgrims will bring their own bedding and donation to sleep in a church, or church or village hall.

– establishing a freely-accessible new Old Way Pilgrimage from Southampton to Canterbury – a 250-mile pilgrimage route discovered on a 14th century map.

– publishing books like Britain’s Pilgrim Places to showcase these rich assets in all their depth and glory.

– partnering currently with heritage organisations like English Heritage, Association of English Cathedrals and National Churches Trust and, in the future, nature and conservation organisations.

– maintaining an active digital presence for our website and social media campaigns for our online community of about 40,000 members.

In the future, we hope to introduce pilgrimage as a new but ancient rite of passage for schoolchildren, especially for those children who may never have walked in the countryside before, or those who are going through a difficult time.