The Mary and Michael Pilgrims’ Way – 350 miles – 5 weeks – Carn Lês Boel to Avebury. The route passes through diverse landscapes of luscious, verdant Cornwall, bleak Bodmin Moor and Dartmoor, calming Somerset Levels and gentle Wiltshire. It connects significant Christian and pre-Christian sites following a line that is drawn from two parallel energy lines – the Mary and Michael lines – running through the the South West and East of England. These earth energy currents were sensed by Hamish Miller and Paul Broadhurst and described in their book “The Sun and The Serpent”. Whatever you might think about the veracity of such currents there is no doubt that the route contains a surprising density of extraordinary holy places along it.
From the very southwesterly tip of Cornwall, Carn Lês Boel, you pass the Boscawen-ûn stone circle, meeting place of bards; the dramatic causeway island of St Michael’s Mount, once known as the second Rome given the number of pilgrims it attracted; the anchoress and the cross at St Stithians; Menacuddle Well; Golitha Waterfalls National Nature Reserve; the high moorland Hurlers Stone Circle; the mini-mountain of Brentor with one of smallest churches in England on its summit; Yes Tor with burial mounds in its side; the touchstone of the Belstone Ring Cross; the pregnancy-inducing South Zeal Menhir stone holding up a restaurant (!); Dartmoor’s Kes Tor with panoramic views and pure water rock basin used in prehistoric ritual; the giant parish church of Crediton; the dragon of Cadbury Castle; the dragon-slaying church of Trull; the fairytale ruins of Corfe Castle; Burrowbridge Mump with a St Michael Church on top; the ever-inspiring Glastonbury Tor with Michael’s Tower on top, a place of pilgrimage for 10,000 years at least; St Aldhelm’s bathing well at Doulting; the island lake church at Orchardleigh; Windmill Hill Round Barrow, the oldest site in the Avebury complex, and of course its stone circle, the largest in the world, and also, at 2300 years, the site of longest continuous ritual use.
This route has a potency that can only be truly experienced, but it is long. Therefore, it works very well to divide it into sections that mean something to you.
Diverse and soul-nourishing landscapes
Integrating the Christian and Pre-Christian
Deep mythology attached to many of the holy places
Running theme of St Michael churches atop hills and mounds