The Two Saints Way – 92 miles – 9 days – Chester to/from Lichfield. In the late Middle Ages a steady stream of pilgrims walked between Chester and Lichfield, both housing shrines to two game-changing Mercian saints in the 7th century – St Werburgh and St Chad – who were much loved. St Werburgh was very beautiful but managed to resist male advances in favour of Christ, and after spending time at Ely with her aunt Etheldreda, opened several convents herself before being buried at Chester Cathedral. Over time her cult developed, partly due to her ideal model of womanhood and also the fact she had a miraculous affinity with geese. St Chad, a disciple of St Aidan at Iona, preferred to travel around on foot not horseback so he could speak with people easily, and would apparently spend long hours standing in his well in prayer. His shrine and well at Lichfield worked many miracles, necessitating the building of a pilgrim cathedral as early as 700AD.
If you start at Chester rather than Lichfield (you can walk either way), you pass by the former cathedral, now St John Parish Church, then along the Shropshire Union Canal, enjoy panoramic views over the Cheshire Plains at Beeston Castle, rest at the picturesque village of Bunbury, and along the Llangollen Canal to the market town of Nantwich. From there, you traverse farmland to industrial Stoke on Trent, where you can see the Staffordshire Anglo-Saxon hoard at the Potteries Museum. Then you follow the Trent Valley along the Trent and Mersey Canal and what is left of the historic Staffordshire New Forest, through St Wulfad’s town of Stone and over Beacon Hill to the county capital of Stafford. You leave town along the River Sow, join the Heart of England Way for a while, then cross the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty of Cannock Chase before finally arriving at Lichfield Cathedral and St Chad’s Well.
Great saints infusing the route with their spirit and stories
Particularly friendly and down-to-earth local people
Many layers of history – ancient and industrial
Authentic connection between two great cathedrals
Holy Places along route listed in our book Britain’s Pilgrim Places: Chester; Lichfield.
English Heritage 2-day version from Bunbury to Chester – 15 miles, 2 days. [See below]
Chester Cathedral Pilgrimage in a Day route options here.
Lichfield Cathedral Pilgrimage in a Day route options here.