The Augustine Camino – 70 miles – 7 days – Rochester via Canterbury to Ramsgate. Kent was the first English Kingdom in the British Isles and, with the baptism of King Ethelbert, the first to convert to Christianity. The Augustine Camino goes from Rochester Cathedral to the Shrine of St Augustine in Ramsgate (the ideal church of Big Ben designer Pugin). The route features living monasteries, village churches, cathedrals and shrines of four of England’s greatest saints as well as the final resting place of the head of Thomas More. You follow serene river paths and stride forth atop the North Downs before eventually resting at the dramatic coastline of Pegwell Bay. The route presents much medieval and modern sacred art, such as 12th and 13th century wall paintings at Rochester, Faversham, Harbledown and Canterbury, and includes what is thought to be the earliest depiction of St Francis in England at Doddington, and an unusual art nouveau window at Wickhambreaux.
At Rochester Cathedral is a copy of King Ethelbert’s Laws, the oldest in the English language, pre-dating Magna Carta. Canterbury is the centre of the global Anglican Communion and contains the site of both St Martin’s church (the oldest in continuous use in the English speaking world) and the ruin of St Augustine’s Abbey (part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site). Aylesford Priory was the mother house of the Carmelite Order on their return from the Crusades and still welcomes pilgrims to stay the night. Minster Abbey on the Isle of Thanet is old enough to have been attacked by the Vikings and was recently re-established as a benedictine convent and shrine to Thanet’s patron saint and Saxon princess, St Mildred. Then finally, after its recent restoration, St Augustine’ Shrine in Ramsgate is a spectacular destination for a route charting the beginnings of Roman Christianity in England.
Living monasteries of Aylesford Priory and Minster Abbey
The section of North Downs near Rochester
Serene river paths
Beautiful coastal destination of Pegwell Bay
Holy Places listed in Britain’s Pilgrim Places book: Rochester Cathedral; Faversham Shrine of St Jude; Canterbury Cathedral; Minster-in-Thanet; Ebbsfleet.
Rochester Cathedral ‘Justus Way’ in a Day – 8 miles. Start at Aylesford Priory, and walk through nature reserves and along the River Medway to Rochester.