Launched during lockdown, there’s still a way to go until we can offer a wide range of accommodation to pilgrims – from camping plots to indoor camping, bunkhouse and B&B – any suggestions please be in touch.
It is a work in progress
And if you could spare time and talents to help the project it would be great to have a chat. Get in touch with the web shepherd firstname.lastname@example.org
Since Stop the Wensum Link forced Norfolk County Council to re-think the route of the road planned to join Norwich’s Northern Distributor Road with the Southern Bypass, contractors equipment and the temporary bridge roadway have been moved off the marsh and calm has been restored.
Crossing the busy (fast flowing) Fakenham Road the route follows the drive and keeps left of the farm buildings, before arriving at the fast flowing River Wensum.
From the bridge over the Wensum a diagonal path takes pilgrims to a new bridge over a drainage dyke. The woods on the skyline are where Europe’s largest roost of barbestrelle bats is located !
The next leg heading to the left of Low Farm is a bit boggy where the temporary roadway has been taken up but otherwise fairly dry.
The route up and over Royal Hill now runs through pig city
On reaching the quiet road , the hum of the traffic on the other side of the valley can just be heard. A left turn takes pilgrims to Ringland Church with an angel roof and some medieval glass. A right turn leads towards Weston Longville.
Might a donation towards this appeal be an act of devotion ?
Leaving Norwich pilgrims track the River Wensum as it winds a green corridor through edgy industrial and residential estates. Some of those with a devotion to Jesus’ mum, may be travelling with rosary beads in their back pockets. The Rosary derives its name from titles given to Mary Rosa Mystica or The Rose of Sharon that refer to Mary’s role as the final blossoming of Isaiah’s prophecy of the Jesse Tree – “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots” (Isaiah 11)
The native English Dog Rose, so abundant along the Walsingham Way, is not, so the experts tell me, an actual Sweet Briar but its very like. Like enough for this pilgrim’s mind to turn to Mary at the sight of a flower or bright red hips in the autumn hedgerows.
Rivers near and far are under threat from pollution and over extraction. True of the River Jordan and true of Norfolk’s rivers.
As Christ was baptised in the Jordan, it is imagined that the first Christians in East Anglia were baptised in rivers, as Paulinus baptised Northumbrian converts in the River Glen.
Walking the Walsingham Way, from Norwich to Great Ryburgh in the Wensum Valley to the healing waters of the Walsingham Shrine beside the River Stiffkey; a pilgrims own baptism and the promise of “living water, welling up to eternal life” is often a recurring theme.
In a post COP26 world caring for the creation has to be the concern of all people of good will
Lockdown kept many pilgrims close to home. Back gardens, parks and local churches in the landscape took on new significance. In the nick of time, an unexpected, last of E.U. money grant, enabled us to waymark the Norwich to Walsingham leg. It was exciting to see the new finger posts appearing appeared along the route.
Enabled by the WW team, Norfolk climate crisis pilgrimage followed our already established routes from Great Yarmouth to Norwich and on to Dereham; then used Norfolk Trail’s Cross Norfolk Route to Lynn.
Along the way church communities stepped up to welcome pilgrims as they crossed the heart of Norfolk and prayed for COP 26 Conference.
In spite of the the can we/ can’t we COVID dance, some little progress has been made towards:
Norfolk Trails are a brilliant network and dovetail well with the Walsingham Way. The Great Yarmouth to Norwich leg follows the Wherryman’s Way. The Norwich to Walsingham leaves Norwich on the Marriott’s Way before turning off to cross the River Wensum at Ringland. Walsingham Pilgrims can arrive and leave Walsingham via the Coast Path and this route between Walsingham and Wells.