Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge will return on Sunday 3 May 2020. What is a village? While lunch did revive our flagging energy somewhat, it seemed our path would never stop climbing “uphill both ways,” Ben always tells me. Ben set off on the trail, and Mark gave me a quick driving tour of Charing on the way to the Wagon & Horses. Canterbury sold more than 100,000 of these each year, until pilgrimage declined in popularity, largely due to the English Reformation. The Pilgrims' Way (also Pilgrim's Way or Pilgrims Way) is the historic route supposed to have been taken by pilgrims from Winchester in Hampshire, England, to the shrine of Thomas Becket at Canterbury in Kent. Canterbury pilgrim badge, showing the murder of Becket. The hierarchy of city, village, town, hamlet, etc. The Shard is Western Europe’s tallest building and London’s “vertical city,” housing shops, restaurants, offices, residences, a hotel, and the UK’s highest viewing platform. I first became aware of the Pilgrims’ Way during the Canterbury Pilgrims Festival last year (2019). The forecasts show increase demand in Canterbury for Primary School places from new housing in the local area. There are twenty-nine (29) pilgrims in Canterbury Tales. Required fields are marked *. We walked through Deptford, where I found it very difficult to imagine that the playwright and Shakespeare contemporary, Christopher “Kit” Marlowe, was killed in a tavern brawl here; all I saw was a busy commercial street, choked with traffic, fast-food restaurants, and the ubiquitous dry cleaning shops. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Keep in mind these are all rough numbers and concepts, and there are always exceptions (in other words, please don’t send us letters), but for the most part: In the 1540s, King Henry VIII established the association between being called a city and having a cathedral. The Old Way to Canterbury is a lost pilgrimage route, rediscovered from Britain’s oldest road map – the Gough map, dated c. 1360. On the road, we meet three fellow Canterbury-bound pilgrims Andrew, Adrian and Alun, who are on the rouen from Rochester. There is a stop for some liquid refreshment at the Dirty Habit, a thirteenth century inn frequent by pilgrims. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. Over lunch, our chatty barmaid told us all the ghost stories associated with the pub, and when we left, and climbed a hill into a dark forest, the mood was set. The castle fell into disuse in the sixteenth century, and only a remnant remains. Are you a Pilgrims Hospices #StayHome hero? We dashed into the Bowl at last, only to be informed that they didn’t serve food until 6:00pm. They say that it was a favorite residence of Thomas Becket. We walked another mile to a local farmhouse B&B whose owner, though exceedingly strict about house rules, was welcoming, and we enjoyed our final night of The Walk. The afternoon was uneventful, we saw absolutely no one else on the path except the occasional dog owner being towed along on their leash, and I began to look forward to a fine dinner and the opportunity to just stop walking. Ben mentioned that he expected to see the Headless Horseman thundering towards us, so we quickened our pace until we soon dropped down to the level of the Great Stour river, and, keeping the Cathedral in our sights in the distance, we walked along the river, where we were passed by dogwalkers, bicyclists, and other walkers. The next day, our walk was measured at just under 10 miles, ending at the delightful Shaw Grange bed & breakfast in the village of Charing. If you are planning to cycle from Canterbury to Rome (nearly 2000 km) you need to consider you’ll be cycling for about a month or more. Hats, boots, walking sticks—all we lacked were pilgrim badges. Continuing on, enjoy the quiet lanes and dedicated cycle track before taking the safe route over Detling Hill on Jade's Crossing. One strategy for providing additional school places is to expand existing schools. ... proto-Canterbury Tales worldview. After a couple of miles, just when we could barely see the top spires of Canterbury Cathedral in the distance, the trail led us from the sunny open countryside up a steep hill into a deep, dark wood, surrounded by menacing-looking trees. The pilgrims draw lots and determine that the Knight will tell the first tale. You can’t help but feel that every step, every inch, has been lovingly taken care of, with future generations always in mind. I’m not saying they don’t happen, but after twenty years’ commuting in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ll take BritRail every time. Prickings of conscience and wanderlust drive a motley group of 13th-century pilgrims along the road from England towards Rome. Its three-story Norman keep was built around 1127, by the then Archbishop of Canterbury. Since I had some work to catch up on—yes, I was working, even on The Walk—it sounded the perfect plan. The Pilgrims cycle trail is designed for the more experienced cyclist, however it can also be completed in sections so if you fancy tackling an easier part this would make an ideal day out for families too. Farms and fields, dams and dikes, gatehouses and gardens (but not all that trash, come on, people! That man can walk. And why did that guy decide a rusted bathtub under his kitchen window was a good idea? Enormous mushrooms grew along a fence line, adding to the strange, Alice-in-Wonderland feel of the place. FINISH at England’s most historic religious building, the centre of the Church of England which is still today a site of modern pilgrimage, as well as the terminus for millions of pilgrims who have gone before. Follow the Pilgrims Way cycle route from Rochester to Canterbury, through the beautiful North Downs. RIP, Kit. Sometime in mid-afternoon, when we’d completed just about seven miles, all of it on the well-marked Pilgrims Way, the path widened and then stopped, abruptly, at a busy thoroughfare. The streets of Rochester are now charmingly Victorian, though by the time we arrived, shortly after 6pm, they were very quiet. Gradually, though, the path flattened out and became a lane, then a few scattered, rather posh, houses appeared. And, Charing is only about twelve miles from our Canterbury destination. We had drinks there earlier in the week, and the view is breathtaking, in more ways than one. There's some fairly challenging climbs along the way so to complete in one day is for the more experienced rider. But, though the idea of sinking down and refusing to move seemed oddly attractive, I took Ben’s example and kept going. One of the things I love about train travel is the ability to look into other people’s lives—not fellow passengers, but those people whose houses we pass—and make up stories about the quick glimpses we catch over back fences and into gardens. I’ll meet you at … umm…” Mark jumped in again with the suggestion that he (Mark) drive me to the Wagon & Horses pub on the Faversham Road (no village or even hamlet, just the pub), saving me 3.2 miles of walking. A town has the usual features such as police, fire, schools, etc., and can support a commercial district. We started out with, literally, a spring in our steps, the weather perfect for walking, our spirits high. The Wagon & Horses is a traditional pub, on top of the North Downs. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Rochester grew from a small Saxon village into one of England’s finest cities. I am always pleasantly surprised, anew, every time I get on a train in England and the countryside slides by. I should have known this would be one of those days when, within the first few miles, we passed places with such bleak names as Coldblow Farm, Scragged Oak, and No Man’s Acre. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Our final day, and it was exactly five miles, door to door, from our B&B to the hotel in Canterbury (where we hoped our luggage had been delivered). You walk up the stairs, through a door, down a hallway, through another door, into a strange, hidden lounge where there’s either an old guy reading or two women talking together in hushed voices, down another hallway, up three steps, through another door, then down two steps into your room. This video gives you lines that are in The Canterbury Tales. In the meantime, we are proud to introduce our brand-new virtual cycling challenge for September 2020: Tour de Castles. That’s a common mistake according to the North Downs Way’s Trail Officer, Pete Morris: "For many people, the North Downs Way and the South Downs Way are interchangeable. The 2021 edition of the Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge will return to its usual early May Bank holiday weekend of Sunday 2nd May 2021 and will be appearing on the Pilgrims website very soon.. Further information pilgrims-way-north-wales.org Getting there From Flint station, take bus 11 or 19 to Holywell. Chaucer died before he finished writing the stories all the pilgrims were to tell. London is the greenest city in Europe, and soon to be the greenest city on Earth, with almost 11,000 acres of green space within its limits. We are both terrified of heights, and neither of us could bear to stand near the windows. The county of Kent is the center of hop growing in England, and the pub and dining room were adorned with bundles of hops, making it feel very medieval indeed. The biggest difference between the two is that while you can cycle on both, it’s only the South Downs Way that has a route that allows you to legally ride the whole le… Our small backpacks held our laptops, phones, and the few changes of clothes we’d need for five days on the road. I can finally stop walking!” But no, this was the village before our destination; we still had a mile to go. We’d hoped to be able to stay at the Woodpack Inn, a 600-year-old inn which, of course, was there in Chaucer’s day and catered to pilgrims like us. We’d seen one on the map, the Robin Hood, conveniently situated at about the half-way mark of today’s walk. The earliest reference to a Golden Lion in Rochester is in 1808, however, it probably refers to the coat of arms of King Henry I, who reigned in the 12th century. “I made these a little bit bigger for you,” he explained as he brought out two steaming plates, “since I know you’ve a long walk ahead.” After our first bite, all our former negativity about The Walk disappeared. Finally, though, we stumbled into the gate, and our hosts, Mark and Carmel, couldn’t have been more welcoming, serving delicious tea and cakes and bustling about, making us exceedingly comfortable. Nearly three miles I wouldn’t have to walk! Similar, to the Camino de Santiago, the Via Francigena was a holy medieval pilgrimage road to Rome. “If it pours rain,” I often said, “I’m getting an Uber!”. This is crazy, walking along these dirty sidewalks and breathing this foul air!” Early on, we’d agreed that, if anything conspired to make our walk unpleasant, we weren’t going to hold ourselves to walking every single step of the Pilgrim Trail. Many of his novels include references to Rochester and the surrounding area. For over two centuries, this was the most accurate map of Britain. Unfortunately, the Tabard Inn was one of those ancient inns that was demolished in earlier centuries, but the site is commemorated, and here we marked the “official” start of our walk. We hadn’t stopped to eat all day—when your walking rhythm gets going, sometimes it’s hard to break the momentum—and asked a dog-walker for a good pub, “close by.” He directed us to The Bowl Inn, “just up the hill, can’t miss it.”. 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