On the first weekend of March 2017, we make a weekend micro-pilgrimage in honour of 'Jerusalem', the song of England. From Haslemere and the highest hill in Sussex, we walk to Chichester, where William Blake - the poet behind Jerusalem - was thankfully not hanged in 1804.
We walk to many diverse 'holy places', of all descriptions - and sing Jerusalem at them all.
Featuring sleep in a Medieval Refectory. A unique experience!
The Path Includes:
Temple of the Winds - highest hill in Sussex, and place where Tennyson (early William Blake adopter) was inspired.
The Deep Dark Green Woods of Ancient Sussex. Oak and Ash and Thorn.
The best pub in Sussex for lunch (self-paying).
Sleep in Easebourne's Medieval Refectory (with modern toilets and central heating). Plus organic breakfast.
The Green Chapel of Cowdray Castle Ruins.
Heyshott Pilgrim Church.
The South Downs - up we go...
Charlton - where the first English WI was founded (the WI was given ownership of the song Jerusalem in 1928). We drink their health in the pub where it all began.
The Trundle - Ancient holy hill where William Blake was inspired.
Lavant - the house where William Blake celebrated his liberty, and dined twince weekly with the Lady of Lavant while composing Jerusalem.
Chichester Guildhall - where Blake was acquitted of treason and sedition - which would have seen him hanged!
Chichester Market Cross.
Chichester Bishops Palace and Cathedral - Exclusive after-hours access to sing Jerusalem.
What is this song Jerusalem all about? What will happen if you sing it 15 times in two days, each time in a significant special place? Will this song of England, which has meant so much to so many people, begin to reveal its secrets? Will you find new ways to sing it?
Come find your own answers on the path...
This pilgrimage is open to all. Bring your own beliefs. Everyone is welcome.
Guided by Will and Guy - singing pilgrims with many miles experience, and co-founders of the British Pilgrimage Trust. They offer traditions to help your pilgrimage come to life. Including traditional songs, drinking wild water (filtered), and foraged teas.
Will and Guy offer full navigation, unique accommodation and great breakfasts, as well as luggage transfer (optional) for people with heavy burdens.
A journey guaranteed to make you re-encounter Britain in new (and very old) ways. As featured on BBC1, Channel 4, Radio 4, The Observer, Times, Independent and Spectator etc.
Visit www.britishpilgrimage.org to learn more about the movement of British pilgrimage.
Come along. Limited spaces available. Tickets are £175 (£100 concessions). All money goes to the BPT, a non-profit Charitable Trust, to help its mission to renew British pilgrimage! Book early to ensure your place!
What you get for your ticket...
All donations go straight into the British Pilgrimage Trust (HMRC Reg: EW38990), a charitable trust which seeks to open up Britain's pilgrimage tradition in newly inclusive and exciting ways.
Your ticket includes a night's accommodation in a Medieval Refectory (ancient with modern toilets and central heating, and also includes a really good Sunday breakfast). Guy and Will provide full guidance, navigation, and support - as well as the fruit of their extensive pilgrimage experience, including the teaching of pilgrim songs, foraging tips and ways of engaging with holy places. On our thousands of miles of British pilgrimage, we've made many mistakes, which hopefully means you don't have to.
Our goal is to build routes that are open to everyone. But to raise the funds to achieve this, we run these fundraising weekend group events. We're not a business, we make no profit, we do not pay ourselves to run these weekend events, and we receive no central government funding. With the money we pay people to do things for the charity, like a web designer and a digital map-maker, and a videographer, and meetings with venues for low-cost pilgrim accommodation. Overall, organising these fundraisers serves multiple purposes, combining route research, fundraising, PR, and establishment of low-cost accommodation, all through a single weekend event.
This pilgrimage route will be published online soon, so if you can't make these weekends it will available for self-guided pilgrims anytime you want.
Making a pilgrimage
It will be quite a long walk - 10.5 miles the first day, and 14 the second - but we move quite slowly with lots of stops. Your fellow pilgrim companions are usually a mixed bunch - albeit with a certain shared questing glint in their eye. Pilgrims tend to have very little, and almost everything, in common. You'll see what we mean.
You'll make friends, learn songs, meet plants and animals. You'll feel good about yourself and other people, and you'll feel closer to the land and story of Britain. You'll change your relationship with holy places, and feel more freedom to meet them in your own way.
Of course, you'll also be challenged, in significant ways. Your legs might get tired. Someone might say something that's difficult for you - or vice versa. It could rain and be windy. It could be too hot. And you'll sleep on a carpeted floor in an ancient refectory. And it may open up vistas of possibility that you had not encountered for a while. Your well-set notions might get all shook up, in the best possible way.
This is pilgrimage, in a British tradition, modern but also very old indeed. We hope you'll find something wonderful to take home...
If you are interested, book a ticket and come along. If you're unsure, book two tickets and bring a friend.
See you on the path. We look forward.
"Everything was organised and made so easy...What I thought was so amazing was how they guided us and clearly have a philosophy behind their passion yet there was no expectation for the walk to be anything to anyone or for a site to have any particular meaning...Everything about our trip was perfect and I feel unbelieveably nourished, refocused and uplifted. I also feel so connected to this amazing and under-appreciated land in which live, and its history and spirituality which we never hear about."
Christabel Reed, Founder of the Advaya Initiative, and BPT pilgrim
"We started off the walk not knowing anything about each other, yet at the end of the trip, it felt like I've known these people for so long. It's amazing how you open up to people under such calm and natural circumstances... I will definitely do another pilgrimage in the near future:)"
Cathrine, BPT pilgrim
Who can come?
Anyone over 18 (or over 16 with parental guidance).
Is this religious?
All and no-faiths are equally welcome. We operate a “Bring Your Own Beliefs” policy. We ask that all participating pilgrims tolerate one another’s spiritual choices.
Are there fitness limitations?
Pilgrimage is moderately intense. If you struggle to walk all day, this type of pilgrimage may be an unsuitable activity for you right now. If you are unsure whether you can walk 25 miles in two days, there are plenty of escape points en route where you can jump on a bus. But we will walk slowly, and start early, so we believe this is a very manageable distance for the majority of people.
Due to the stiles and off-road access along much of this route, unfortunately this pilgrimage is not suited for mobilty-impaired people or those requiring wheelchair access. Sorry. We're working on good alternatives...
What should I bring?
You will need to bring your own sleeping kit – an inflatable roll-mat and sleeping bag. You will also need adequate warm and waterproof clothing, in case of inclement weather - but we suggest you pack for the weather report a little ahead of time. You will need spare clothing sufficient for 2 days’ walking. And you'll need shoes that fit. And some money to buy your lunches and supper – though breakfast will be provided. More detail on what to bring will be sent to you in your order confirmation email. Umbrellas are also recommended.
What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?
Haslemere Train Station has fast regular links.
Chicester Train station is also accessible and well served.
When will the event start and end?
The pilgrimage begins at Haslemere train station at 9:30am on Saturday 4th March 2017.
We aim to end at Chicester Train station at 8pm on Sunday 5th March 2017.
How far is it? Is the terrain difficult?
Day#1 is 10.5 miles, and day#2 is 14 miles walking. This is not especially far, but nor is it entirely easy. You'll feel it, but not too badly. We do ask all attendees to come with walking fitness and confidence that such distances are unlikely to prove excessive.
Is luggage transfer available?
There is luggage transfer, which is optional. This service will pick up your main bag on Saturday morning, drop it off at the church in the evening, pick it up on Sunday morning, and drop it again on Sunday evening, with safe locked storage at all times between.
Bags are limited to one per pilgrim. if you think you have light enough sleeping kit and simple enough needs, we really recommend you carry your own backpack, for a fuller sense of self-sustainablity.
Where can I contact the organiser with any questions?
You can email the organisers, Will (07415 223552) - or Guy (07841 518110).
Or email us on: info (at) britishpilgrimage.org