Much has happened since I last wrote in this magazine about pilgrimage so thank you for your patience in waiting for the official launch of Devon Pilgrim and our very own Pilgrimage Walking Route, The Archangel’s Way.
The launch of The Archangel’s Way is now going to take place at 3.00 pm on Saturday 31st July 2021 at Belstone, that little village on the northern edge of Dartmoor. All will be welcome to engage with our fascinating landscape, find sanctuary in 12 historic churches and space for the soul through walking, poetry and the beauty of Dartmoor, past and present.
The 35+ mile Pilgrimage route begins from St Michael de Rupe on Brent Tor and ends at St Michael the Archangel in Chagford and will offer places of accommodation, a Pilgrim Passport for walkers, a series of guided reflective walks through the year and poetry, music and art along the Way.
The plan is that proceedings for the launch event will begin at 12.00 noon with a short inclusive service of worship led by Rev. Paul Seaton-Burn and will include the first performance of a song for the Way composed by Jim Causley and the bells of our Dartmoor churches will ring again! The Tors Inn will be open from its outdoor bar “The Shed” serving a selection of food and drink. The Chapel tearooms will also be open throughout the afternoon.
Several walking groups will be setting out earlier in the day from Brentor, Sourton and Chagford; planning to arrive by 3.00pm at Belstone for further celebration.
The planning group have been busy exploring the route and a number of trial walks from Brentor to Lydford, Chagford to Throwleigh and Lydford to Sourton have been successfully enjoyed, completed and timed. Several people have told us that they have already walked, cycled or run the route between Brentor and Chagford.
The website for Devon Pilgrim will be launched before the end of June with a section on The Archangel’s Way which will display all the information needed for following the route as well as offering optional diversions to places of interest. More information from Judith Oaks on: firstname.lastname@example.org or Revd Paul on email@example.com
The Archangel’s Way is one part of a series of pilgrim routes being developed by Devon Pilgrim across the Diocese of Exeter.
The Devon Pilgrim initiative will have a stand at the Devon County Show in July but this may have to be visited digitally if the restrictions are not lifted soon.
As a member of the planning group and the Hospitaller for the two churches at Brentor, I am keen to ensure that the proposed route will be accessible to all, whether pilgrims are young or old, rich or poor, fit or facing disabilities. It is not intended to be challenging or competitive. It should be no more that a gentle stroll rather than a trek and, since it is too far to be completed in a day on foot, it can take several days with many options for refreshment and overnight accommodation along the way. It is my hope that everyone who decides to set out along the way should be welcomed wherever they wander along its route.
Christopher Pancheri (Retired Lay minister with permission to officiate)
Sunday 27th June 2021