Two Saints Way
148 km / 92 miles
Cheshire, Staffs, Stoke
The last twenty years or so has seen a marked rise in the idea and practice of pilgrimage. Old pilgrimage routes, such as the paths along the North Wales coast to Bardsey are being walked again and new pilgrimage routes, such as St Cuthbert's Way from Melrose to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, have been established.
Now plans are underway to create a new pilgrimage route of approximately 86 miles between the cathedral cities of Chester and Lichfield. The footpath will be called Two Saints Way after the Saxon saints who brought Christianity from Northumbria to the ancient kingdom of Mercia in the seventh century. St Chad's shrine at Lichfield and St Werburgh's shrine at Chester were popular destinations for pilgrims in medieval times.
The Two Saints Way Project ties in with this new mood of enthusiasm for the active spirituality of pilgrimage in a way that is relevant to the contemporary context.
Section 1 - Chester to Nantwich. Starting at Chester Cathedral, the route is mostly along the Shropshire Union Canal with a diversion to the dramatic Beeston Castle and the pleasant village of Bunbury before ending at the fine market town of Nantwich.
Section 2 - Nantwich to Stoke-on-Trent. Farmland predominates in this second section and after the relative flatness of Cheshire there are some hills to walk over on the way into Stoke-on-Trent, which is notable for its industrial heritage sites and the Potteries Museum where you can see the Staffordshire Hoard.
Section 3 Stoke-on-Trent to Stafford. The route follows the Trent Valley along sections of the Trent and Mersey Canal and remnants of the Staffordshire New Forest at Trentham and Tittensor Chase, passing through Stone to Salt where it turns south west over Hopton Heath and Beacon Hill to the county town of Stafford.
Section 4 – Stafford to Lichfield. After meandering out of Stafford along the River Sow, the route joins the Heart of England Way to cross Cannock Chase, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, before the last few miles of farmland and country lanes to Lichfield and the pilgrim sites at the Cathedral and St Chad's Well.
A detailed route description may be obtained from the Two Saints Way website below for a small donation to the project. A guidebook is being prepared.
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