Sunday, 31 January 2010


The last twenty years or so has seen a marked rise in the idea and practice of
pilgrimage. There have been a large number of publications about sacred sites around
the country. 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 75 miles
between the cathedral cities of Chester and
Lichfield. The footpath will be called St Chad's
Way after the Saxon saint who brought
Christianity from Northumbria to the ancient
kingdom of Mercia in the seventh century. His
shrine at Lichfield was a popular destination
for pilgrims in medieval times. Chester also
attracted pilgrims to the Holy Rood at St
John’s (the former cathedral) and to St
Werburga’s shrine at the present cathedral.
The proposed route from Chester will begin
along the Shropshire Union Canal and proceed
to Nantwich via Beeston Castle. The route will
continue eastwards across the M6 via Apedale
to the Saxon Cross at Stoke Minster in Stokeon-
Trent. From thence it will take a southerly
direction via the Trentham Estate, Stone and
Stafford before joining the Heart of England
Way across Cannock Chase to Lichfield.

St Chad’s Way ~ Special Features

The footpath will be the first waymarked pilgrimage route in the area.

Modern pilgrims on St Chad's Way will have the opportunity to be resourced so
that they can make a journey of discovery and reconnection and find health in
body, mind and soul. The project will link with the NHS, faith groups and other
organisations with a concern for healing and wholeness.

As well as attracting pilgrims from UK and overseas, the project will be socially
inclusive, such as seeking to provide special pilgrimage opportunities for those
with mental health or addictions issues.

Early pilgrimage was especially associated with storytelling, such as those told
in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The path will include a story trail between Stoke
and Stafford centred on Stone, whose foundational story of the Saxon princes
Wulfad and Rufin, also features St Chad.

The footpath will be a rich educational resource, providing a range of cross
curricular opportunities and the chance for students to experience pilgrimage
for themselves.

Pilgrimage – Medieval and Contemporary

Of Lichfield... “The shrine of St Chad was a
wooden coffin in the shape of a little house with an
aperture in the side through which the devout
can...take out some of the dust, which they put
into water and give to sick cattle or men to drink,
upon which they are presently eased of their
infirmity and restored to health”. (Bede)

Of Stone... The venerable queen (Ermenild,
mother of Wulfad & Rufin) had a finely constructed
church built of stones in the same place... After
this, a multitude of the infirm and those suffering
from diverse weaknesses and of others seeking
God ... was accustomed to visit the place and to
carry stones thither to the building. Whence that
place is called Stanes.” (Hugh Candidus)

Website leads for further information

St Chad:
Legend of Stone Princes and sites on story trail:

The idea for the footpath is the brainchild of experienced long distance walker David
Pott. The former head teacher has also been deeply involved in various reconciliation
initiatives including leading the Lifeline Expedition, a response to the legacies of the
Atlantic slave trade which has received widespread media attention. See

For more information contact David Pott at or by mobile phone
07932 790525