Our Team

Executive Team

Dr. Guy Hayward

Director & Co-Founder

Guy co-founded the British Pilgrimage Trust, after completing a PhD at Cambridge on how singing forms community. Guy also runs the website choralevensong.org and is one half of musical comedy duo Bounder & Cad.

Dawn Champion

Old Way Project Lead

Dawn has had a career with English Heritage, working on several award-winning projects at some of the most significant places across the South East, before moving to Kent Wildlife Trust to lead delivery of the volunteering and visitor experience programmes. She also volunteers for charities that connect children with the magic of nature.


Janet Astor


A life-long enthusiast of myths and ancient history, as well as a psychotherapist, the Duchess of Richmond is helping the BPT to fundraise and network in order to establish the Old Way route which passes near the Goodwood Estate, Chichester.

Dr. Rupert Sheldrake


Rupert is a biologist and author of many popular books on modern science. He is known for asking the questions other scientists prefer to ignore, such as in his book The Science Delusion. Rupert’s latest pilgrimage experiments have focussed on the potential role of pilgrimage in the relationship between god-parents and god-children.

Georgina Fitzalan-Howard


Georgina has been working directly with the BPT to spread awareness of the plans for the Old Way that passes by her home in Arundel.

Robin Bridgeman


Robin is one of 90 elected hereditary Peers in the House of Lords, and a keen and regular pilgrim to Lourdes.

Peter Owen Jones


Vicar of Firle, Sussex, Peter is well known as BBC1’s ‘Extreme Pilgrim’, as well as for his many books. With his extensive global pilgrimage experience, Peter is champion of our drive for churches to serve as pilgrim accommodation.


Peter Gangsted (Chairman)

Chairman of Trustees

Peter spent half his career with Unilever running various businesses around the world, both small to large, initially as finance director and later as operations and managing director. In private equity, Peter was a founding partner of Allianz Capital Partners based in Munich, the direct investment arm of Allianz AG, before becoming a partner of Cinven, the pan-European private equity investor.

Dr Merlin Sheldrake


Merlin’s recent work has focused on the symbiotic relationship between mycorrhizal fungi and plants, and how fungal networks may connect different plants together underground. During his time working in tropical forests in Panama, he made many pilgrimages to find rare plants that connect to these fungal networks in unusual ways. He is also an accomplished accordionist, pianist and folk singer.

Abigail Rowe


Abigail works professionally with three charities, primarily in a fundraising capacity. She is currently walking the bounds of England, in a bid to keep learning more about our amazing heritage.

Simon Hillson


Simon spent most of his career as a solicitor at leading City law firm Macfarlanes, where he trained and was a partner for over 20 years, latterly as head of the real estate practice. Simon is excited to be combining his legal skill with his love for walking.

Sylvia Perrins


Sylvia was the CEO of the National Skills Academy for Financial Services (NSAFS) until her retirement and now works for a number of charities providing financial and strategic advice. Sylvia is a keen pilgrim.


Sir Simon Jenkins

Author + Newspaper Columnist + Editor

Simon served as editor of the Evening Standard from 1976 to 1978 and of The Times from 1990 to 1992, and chaired the National Trust from 2008 to 2014. He currently writes columns for both The Guardian and Evening Standard, and sits on the committee of the Churches Conservation Trust and English Churches and Cathedrals Sustainability Commission Review.

Nick Mayhew-Smith

Holy Place Expert (Network Dept)

Nick has written a number of books about sacred places and the landscape, most notably Britain’s Holiest Places (2011), which was made into a BBC Four television series. He recently completed a PhD on Celtic nature spirituality, which forms the basis of his latest book The Naked Hermit (2019).

Dame Fiona Reynolds

Academic + Conservationist

A former Director of the National Trust, Dame Fiona Reynolds is the Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and the Chair of the Cathedrals Commission. A noted campaigner and media figure, her recent book, The Fight For Beauty, traces the historical precedents for conservation by policymakers and poets alike — alongside her own lifelong dedication to beautiful landscapes. During her tenure at the National Trust, Dame Fiona raised the charity’s profile from 2.7 million to 4 million members.

Emma Bridgewater

Ceramicist + Rural Campaigner

Emma runs the British ceramics manufacturer ‘Emma Bridgewater’, based in Stoke on Trent. In 2016, she was made President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, a charity that was formed in 1926 to limit urban sprawl and ribbon development. The CPRE campaigns for a ‘sustainable future for the countryside’.

Philip Carr-Gomm

Author and Psychologist

Philip was asked to lead the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids in 1988, and since then the Order has grown to become the largest Druid teaching order in the world, now 20,000 strong. He combines this role with writing, and giving talks and workshops.

Satish Kumar

Activist + Editor + Earth Pilgrim

Satish has been a Jain monk, nuclear disarmament advocate, pacifist, and editor of Resurgence & Ecologist magazine. He is founder and Director of Programmes of the Schumacher College international centre for ecological studies, and of The Small School. He is known for a peace walk with a companion to the capitals of four of the nuclear-armed countries – Washington, London, Paris and Moscow – a pilgrimage of over 8,000 miles.

Sir Richard Long

Walking Artist

Richard Long has been in the vanguard of conceptual art in Britain since 1967, the year he created A Line Made by Walking, an original and poetic work which became a precedent for art as a journey. Through this medium of walking, new subjects for his art became time, space and distance, observed in wilderness regions all over the world. Enigmatically he made Dry Walk – 113 walking miles between one shower of rain and the next. He is maybe the first person to have walked in a straight line across Dartmoor.

Dr. Robert Macfarlane

Author + Academic

Award-winning writer Robert Macfarlane is an expert guide to the wonder and wildness of Britain. We are lucky to have his advice and support in taking British pilgrimage forward.

Jill Purce

Teacher + Therapist + Author

Jill wrote the book ‘The Mystic Spiral’- detailing the way of the spiral journey in all cultures, which is the fundamental nature of pilgrimage. She teaches people how to discover their spiritual connection through voice and ritual, both at her home in Hampstead and around the world. She is a key advisor on designing the ritual elements of pilgrimage to be as appropriate and powerful as possible.

Prof Ronald Hutton

British Historian

A leading authority on history of the British Isles in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, on ancient and medieval paganism and magic, and on the global context of witchcraft beliefs. Also the leading historian of the ritual year in Britain and of modern paganism.

John Brierley

Camino Pilgrim Guide Author

John is a pilgrim pioneer who has made pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela 100 times, walked the Camino Frances about 50 times, and the other 50 pilgrimages have been along the other Camino routes, Portugues, Ingles etc. John’s guidebooks to the Camino have sold hundreds of thousands of copies, have been printed in 20 editions and translated into Korean, Russian and other languages too.

Patrick Holden CBE

Farmer + Activist

Patrick is the founding director of the Sustainable Food Trust, which works internationally to accelerate the transition towards more sustainable food systems, and was the founding chairman of British Organic Farmers in 1982. He sees the potential for pilgrimage to reconnect us with our land.

Martin Palmer

Campaigner + Broadcaster

Martin is the Honorary President of FaithInvest, the Chair of the International Network on Conservation and Religion (INCR) as well as Senior faith advisor to WWF International. He is also Director of the International Consultancy on Religion, Education and Culture (ICOREC). Martin is also a regular contributor to the BBC on religious, ethical and historical issues, and has written various books, including ‘Sacred Britain: A Guide to the Sacred Sites and Pilgrim Routes’.

Tristan Gooley

Author and Natural Navigator

Tristan is an author and natural navigator. He has led expeditions on five continents, climbed mountains across the globe. He has flown and sailed single-handed across the Atlantic, and is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation and the Royal Geographical Society.

Dr. Kathryn Barush

Assoc. Professor with Tenure, Berkeley

Kathryn Barush (D.Phil Oxon) has a particular interest in the art and material culture associated with pilgrimage.  Her second book is Imaging Pilgrimage: Art as Embodied Experience (Bloomsbury: August 2021). She is Assoc. Prof of Art History and Religion at the Berkeley, CA Graduate Theological Union where she is in the process of founding a centre for art and interfaith pilgrimage (@pilgrim_travels).

Rt Revd Dr Martin Warner

Bishop of Chichester

The Diocese of Chichester stretches from Chichester in the West, to East Grinstead in the North, and as far East as Rye – i.e. the majority of our proposed route from Southampton to Canterbury – and therefore we are thrilled that Bishop Martin has pledged his support for the route.