St Edmund Way – 79 miles, 8 days – Manningtree to Brandon, via Bury St Edmunds. A Suffolk pilgrimage route via Dedham (East Anglia), Sudbury, Long Melford, Lavenham and Little Welnetham to Bury St Edmunds, where King Edmund is buried, having been martyred by the Danes in 869, and onward via Thetford, finishing at Brandon. This route follows several national trails, such as the Stour Valley path and Icknield Way.
2-day Version – Thetford Priory to Bury St Edmunds – 22 miles. This a modified section of the complete route in order to take account of English Heritage sites in Thetford. You begin at Thetford Priory, an important medieval monastery, near the Priory of the Canons of the Holy Sepulchre, who aided medieval pilgrims to Jerusalem. Next is the medieval stone Barnham Cross that marks the boundary between Norfolk and Suffolk, and along the Icknield Way through the King’s Forest to West Stow, a reconstructed 5th-7th-century Anglo-Saxon village. A succession of four beautiful Suffolk churches follows before you arrive at Bury St Edmunds, with its ruined abbey standing side-by-side with the cathedral, where you can hear its choir sing evensong. (Scroll down to bottom for logistics).
St Edmundsbury Cathedral Pilgrimage in a Day – 9 miles. West Stow Church to St Edmundsbury Cathedral (see two-day map below.
Logistics for 2-day version from Thetford to Bury
Train to Thetford, and from Bury St Edmunds. Or bus or taxi to Thetford, if parking car at Bury St Edmunds.
Thetford to West Stow – 15 miles
West Stow to Bury – 7 miles
Accommodation and Food
West Stow and Culford (on the route), Flempton or Lackford (near the route). If wanting cooked food in the evening (which you don’t have to cook), the Cadogan Arms in Ingham is a 1hr walk from West Stow, or a 30-min walk from Culford.
Footpaths, fields and small sections of road.
NB the alternative route via Fornham St Martin, and its splendid Woolpack Inn and Church, involves you walking across a golf course. If there are golfers around please show a pilgrim’s respect.
If you want to sing a medieval chant dedicated to St Edmund as you go along, here are three: