£160 – £210

Turtle Dove Pilgrimage *SOLD OUT*

Event Information

Share this event

Date and Time



Knepp Castle Estate

West Grinstead

RH13 8LJ

United Kingdom

View Map

Event description


A re-wilding journey to the heart of Sussex, folk song and nature

The 2019 Turtle Dove Pilgrimage has now sold out. If you would like to keep informed about upcoming pilgrimages and Nest Collective events, please join our mailing list by clicking here.

Folk singing and nature loving ‘gentlemen of the footpath’ Sam Lee (Singing With Nightingales & The Nest Collective) and Will Parsons (The British Pilgrimage Trust) invite you on a three-night Pilgrimage to ‘re-wild’ one of Britain’s ancient traditional songs back to the very birds that inspired the folk song.

Tracing the songlines of Sussex, seekers and walkers of the old ways are welcome to share this path connecting the ancient traditional song ‘Turtle Dove’ collected in 1903 by Vaughan Williams and carry it from its source to one of the last remaining populations of actual Turtle Doves.

When does a song need to be re-wilded? What does the rare and almost disappeared turtledove have to do with British folk song tradition? These are questions we will be exploring as we chart the song-line connecting The Turtledove’s song source to Sussex’ last colony of this species. This journey will explore the relationship our disappearing ancient songs have with the rapid ecological decline happening right now in the UK. Will and Sam will lead guests on a unique and intimate passage along the sacred ways of Sussex to Knepp Estate, the most ambitious re-wilding oasis in the UK and a premier site for ecological research. We will walk amongst herds of deer, long horn cattle and many rare species that have found sanctuary in this land that time forgot eventually meeting the small colony of Turtle Doves purring their mystical song in the old oak trees. We will carry most of our own gear, camp on the land and spend our nights round the fire singing and telling stories.

This journey includes wild-swimming, foraging, drinking spring water, local history, nature connection activities, tree climbing and lots of singing this stunning song, sharing it with those we encounter on our journey. We will be carrying and cooking (over a fire) all our own food.

The pilgrimage will meet on Thursday evening 6th June informally at the very pub it all began in with last arrivals joining us to depart Rusper on Friday 7th am. We will end on the Sunday morning at Knepp Castle Estate.

Your place includes all food and drink (from Friday morning onwards) and 2 or 3 nights of camping in a mixture of churches, beds and Tents (provided). This 20+ mile journey will be on foot and is for competent walkers only but for singers of any ability. This event is a partnership between The Nest Collective and The British Pilgrimage Trust.

For more involved info on this project and the history of Turtle Doves, The Song, and The Intentions of the project please click here.

TIMELINE *Subject to change

Thursday night

Informal meet at The Plough Inn for dinner and drinks and songs (this meal is not included in the ticket price)

Accommodation is available for those joining us on thursday in Rusper Church
Parking is available for whole weekend

Friday (8 miles)

Last arrivals joining us at Rusper at 10am

Rusper Churchyard – sing to grave of David Penfold (Plough Inn landlord who sung to Vaughan Williams) Grave + grave of Lucy Broadwood.

Source of River Mole – drink and sing.


Source of River Arun – morning wild swim

St Leonard’s Forest

Source of the anthem ‘To Be A Pilgrim’s tune (The Blacksmith’) at Monks Gate

Arrive at Knepp Castle Estate for an afternoon of nature connection activities and making camp

Sunday morning

Dawn walk to sing with/for Turtle Doves.

Return by 8am. Breakfast and farewells.

Taxis back to Rusper for those who need

Share with friends

Date and Time


Knepp Castle Estate

West Grinstead

RH13 8LJ

United Kingdom

View Map

Save This Event

Event Saved