Winchester Day Pilgrimage – 6.5 miles – Hyde Abbey to Winchester Cathedral.
How do you establish your presence in Winchester before you start making pilgrimage to Canterbury? Start at Hyde Abbey, the place clouded in mystery where King Alfred is allegedly buried. Filter water from Hyde stream nearby and, perhaps sing our water song ‘Water Flows’, drink it, before heading to St Lawrence’s Church, built on the site of William the Conqueror’s palace chapel. Head from there to Winchester Cathedral and its crypt, which may be flooded, with the evocative Gormley sculpture rising from the water. Around the shrine of St Swithun gather your thoughts and mind yourselves of the intention you can initially set at Hyde Abbey Gate. This could be either a question that you want answered in your lives, or something that you want to bring into your life or let go of. Then to St Swithun-upon-Kingsgate church, and possibly be silent for several minutes. Then on to the Hospital of St Cross, with the oldest charitable institution of the Wayfarer’s Dole of bread and ale, which you have to ask for. Perhaps lunch there.
Play pooh sticks standing over the River Itchen in the water meadows, and let your stick symbolise our intention flowing with the river. Then up St Catherine’s Hill, and walk the historic labyrinth called the ‘Mizmaze’ (probably 350 years old, possibly older), where you can contemplate your original intention for the eight minutes or so it takes to walk it. Down the hill, along the river towards the oldest parish church in Winchester, St John the Baptist, with Saxon wall paintings, and then finally ending at the Cathedral.