Funding boost for Norfolk pilgrimage route
Plans to waymark a medieval pilgrimage route between Norwich Cathedral and Walsingham have received a £31,000 funding boost.
The Walsingham Way Project – which aims to promote the historic 37-mile route between Norwich and Walsingham – has been awarded the funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The project is led by Norwich Cathedral which on Tuesday will be the host venue for the first day of a Green Pilgrimage Conference organised by Norfolk County Council and involving partners from a number of European countries.
During the conference, the Revd Dr Peter Doll, Canon Librarian and Vice Dean at Norwich Cathedral, will speak about the long-term plan for the Walsingham Way.
The Revd Dr Peter Doll said: “This route will be a physical reminder of the many routes which in the Middle Ages brought pilgrims from around Britain and from overseas to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, the most popular and revered of all England’s medieval shrines.
“The last 30 years have seen an explosion in the numbers of people going on pilgrimage by foot and bicycle to historic shrines across Europe, particularly Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
“The Walsingham Way, which follows the Wensum valley for much of its 37-mile route, is the first of a projected network of pathways which will give locals and visitors alike an opportunity to immerse themselves in the gentle beauty of the Norfolk countryside and to experience the spirituality and peace of the contemporary Anglican and Roman Catholic Shrines of Our Lady of Walsingham.”
He added: “Pilgrimage is a form of sustainable tourism which can bring important benefits to pilgrims and local communities alike.
“For walkers it offers physical and spiritual benefits and opportunities to connect with local heritage and environment. For local communities it offers significant opportunities for sustainable economic development to benefit the rural economy by supporting the needs of walkers and other visitors.”
The exact route that the Walsingham Way will take is currently being finalised and it is hoped that the route will be open to the public in early 2020.
Pictured: a pilgrimage procession to Walsingham