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Skin4Life Two Saints Way Walk

It’s a 7am start at Chester Cathedral for the Skin4Life sponsored walk

On Saturday 15th July a group of walkers completed the opening 23.5 miles of The Two Saints
Way from Chester to Nantwich and in the process raised £1,400 for their Skin4Life project which
Judith Jackson explains here:

Our Skin4Life charity was formed after my husband Richard was successfully treated for terminal
malignant melanoma in 2007 when Archie was 3 and Mabel was 10 months old. He was treated
with a ground breaking trial drug which saved his life and offered hope to others.

Walkers pause before leaving the towpath at Christelton

We realised after such amazing care from the team at The Christie just how important fund raising
is for continued research, better treatments and a brighter future for melanoma patients.
We have raised over £45,000 so far.

Richard’s brother Simon and his wife Elaine started the annual Skin4Life walk as a thank-you to
The Christie 7 years ago and this blister giving, gruelling, crippling and mainly rewarding event has
gained support and strength year on year to become the wonderful event it is today!

Simon and Elaine have sent these encouraging comments about the day’s walk:

“We would like to pass on our thoughts after walking on Saturday 15th July 2017. Well, we loved
it! The route is better signposted than I originally thought and it certainly leant itself to a true day’s
walking challenge, with superb views, amazing churches and fantastic Cheshire countryside. In
fact we can’t wait now to navigate the middle section.

For your information, we have over £1,400 on our just giving website with still more sponsorship
money to come in, so the route proved to be challenging enough for people to realise the efforts
going in and donate appropriately.

I have attached three photos from the day to emphasise the feel good factor that ensued over the
nine walking hours.”

If you would like to find out more and contribute to this good cause please visit:

Tired but happy fundraisers outside The Crown Hotel in Nantwich

Walk organisers Simon & Elaine Jackson

Two Saints Way Pilgrimage with Bishop Michael September 21-24 2016

The Background
Earlier this year my friend Philip Swan mentioned to me that the newly appointed Bishop of Lichfield, Michael Ipgrave who was then the Bishop of Woolwich, is a keen walker and suggested he might appreciate a copy of The Two Saints Way guidebook. I duly sent him a copy and quite soon I had a card from him thanking me for the guidebook and mentioning that he might be able to link his inauguration, which was due to take place in Lichfield Cathedral on September 24th, with The Two Saints Way.

This initial contact eventually led to the arrangement of a three day pilgrimage from Stoke Minster to Lichfield immediately prior to the inauguration. This was coordinating with a nine day ‘Season of Welcome’ designed to give opportunities for people to meet the new bishop. I agreed to organise and lead the pilgrimage and Bishop Michael asked me to choose a small core team to accompany him on the journey. The team that came together consisted of Ann Fisher who was High Sheriff of Staffordshire between 2014 and 2015, Rev Sally Smith, Team Vicar in Hanley and Ali Shadravani who is from Iran and has been involved with the Sanctus Project for refugees and asylum seekers – see Sally’s husband Roy kindly agreed to drive the support vehicle.

tsw01Wednesday September 21st – Stoke to Stone
Our pilgrimage began at Stoke Minster. Before setting off, we gathered for morning prayer at the old eighth century Saxon preaching cross. Appropriately in this location, we had two mini preaches from Bishop Michael and Robert Mountford before we set on our way singing Bunyan’s “To Be a Pilgrim” – we had the BBC Midlands Today team filming the occasion which meant an early request to backtrack and repeat the start of our journey a second time!

We went over to the Trent & Mersey canal and started our journey south, pausing for Bishop Michael to do an interview for BBC. It was a busy media day with Bishop Michael doing further interviews for Radio Stoke and for the Stone Gazette.

We had a good stop for morning refreshments at St Mary’s Trentham before pressing on to the hilliest section of the pilgrimage on the ridge above the Trentham Estate with the busy M6 below to the west. We had a brief pause at the Duke of Sutherland monument which is a fine viewpoint before descending to Tittensor where we had an excellent lunch stop at St Luke’s.

The afternoon walk to Stone was over Tittensor Chase to Saxon’s Lowe, a possible burial place for King Wulphere, where I shared the legend of St Wulfad and St Rufin to the group and to some cows who came as the story began and left as soon as I finished! Our last stretch was back on the canal. There was a good crowd gathered to greet us at St Michael’s & St Wulfad’s for an occasion that

included the opening by Bishop Michael of a new interpretation panel highlighting the history of Stone especially in relation to pilgrimage. Amongst those attending were the Stone Mayor Jim Davies and Sue Thursfield, Manager of HSBC Stone which helped to fund the new panel. As soon as we had we completed the opening, the heavens opened and we were glad to move swiftly into the church for refreshments!

Here are some images from the first day:

A steep ascent at Trentham

A steep ascent at Trentham

A pause for meditation in King’s Wood

A pause for meditation in King’s Wood

The cows listen to the Legend of Wulfad & Rufin!

The cows listen to the Legend of Wulfad & Rufin!

Bishop Michael opens the new Stone panel

Bishop Michael opens the new Stone panel

Thursday September 22 – Stone to Stafford
Our second day began in the oldest part of Stone which is the crypt with its fine vaulted ceiling in the basement of the privately owned Priory House. I am grateful to the Gillow family for allowing us to start there and it was great to have Charles Gillow and his friends walking with us during the day. The Augustinian priory at Stone was built around 1140. After a short prayer tin the crypt we went up to the garden of the house where there are a few more fragments of the priory and where
we completed morning prayer.

It was a fine sunny day as we walked the canal once more to St Saviour’s Aston where we received a very warm welcome. We then visited the wonderful chapel at Aston Hall where Deacon Trevor told us the story of the bones of St Chad and how they were rediscovered in the chapel in 1839. It was then a further mile or so across the fields to the charming little village of Burston with its mill pond and the unassuming St Rufin’s Church where again we received a very warm welcome. It was mentioned that there were no records of any Bishop of Lichfield visiting this church before.

Our last canal stretch then followed as we walked on to Salt and then up to Hopton Heath where we paused to read the panel about the Civil War battle which took place there in 1643. Our next stop was at the village hall in Hopton where the Mid-Trent churches had put on a marvellous lunch for us.

Bishop Michael and pilgrims following on the canal between Burston and Salt

Bishop Michael and pilgrims following on the canal between Burston and Salt

In the afternoon, we walked over Beacon Hill with fine views over Stafford to Cannock Chase and over to the Wrekin. In Stafford we were able to call in at St John’s C of E School where an after school Messy Church was taking place. It was a delightful time there where we enjoyed the children singing and the children asked Bishop Michael some great questions. We then walked through the suburbs of Stafford and heard the bells of St Mary’s chiming for us before our arrival there. Our day concluded with our end of the day’s walk prayers around the Byzantine font followed by welcome refreshments.

Friday September 23 – Stafford to Lichfield
We began the last day of our pilgrimage with morning prayer in the splendour of St Chad’s Church before emerging into the natural splendour of another fine sunny day. It was pleasant to walk along the River Sow leaving the sounds of Stafford behind until we came to a bridge where the River Penk joins the Sow. Shortly afterwards, we had our morning stop at the home of Tony and Marie Living where it was warm enough for us to enjoy our refreshments in their wonderful garden. This was our only stop that was not a church, but Tony and Marie live on the site of the former St Thomas’s Priory. It is so good that they have been able to host pilgrims on The Two Saints Way in this place where pilgrims would have stayed in medieval times. Afterwards we were shown around some of the remaining priory ruins by the Liveings’ neighbour John Martin.

Deep in conversation….

Deep in conversation….

Refreshments with Tony & Marie Liveing

Refreshments with Tony & Marie Liveing

The second half of our morning involved skirting some sewage works – the wind was fortunately in the right direction! – and across fields, through Black Covert before negotiating a busy road across canal and railway bridges to Milford. From there we drove in two cars over to the southern side of Cannock Chase. This section would have been too much for us to include all in one day, but Bishop Michael has completed this section of The Two Saints Way on other days! Once again we had a wonderful welcome at Christ Church Gentleshaw and an excellent lunch too!

A brief pause in Black Covert

A brief pause in Black Covert

Silent walk in Cross in Hand Lane

Silent walk in Cross in Hand Lane

Duly refreshed we walked on over Gentleshaw Common and via Watery Lane and Chorley to St Bartholomew Farewell for our last stop. Here, as in every church we visited, Bishop Michael gave a blessing before we set off for the last two miles of the pilgrimage. This was along Cross in Hand Lane. Following pilgrimage custom, some of us had small hand crosses and we had a moving time of silent meditation as we approached Lichfield. After crossing the busy A51, we walked on into the city. We passed the cathedral and walked round Stowe Pool to St Chad’s Church where, after our final welcome and refreshments, many others joined us for the special Renewal of Baptismal Vows service which ended by St Chad’s Well with our being joyfully sprayed with water from the well!

Saturday September 24 – Bishop Michael’s Enthronement
It was a great joy for our pilgrim band to join Bishop Michael on this special day and to accompany him to the great west door of the cathedral. The service had already begun and then the dramatic moment arrived where Bishop Michael banged the  door three times with his crozier and then the great doors swung open and we  entered the cathedral. We all enjoyed the deeply moving service which followed and of course were delighted with the pilgrimage references in Bishop Michael’s inaugural sermon!

The pilgrim band - Ali Shadravani, Ann Fisher, Sally Smith, Bishop Michael, David Pott, Roy Smith

The pilgrim band – Ali Shadravani, Ann Fisher, Sally Smith, Bishop Michael, David Pott, Roy Smith

Some Personal Reflections

Bishop Michael
It was an enormous joy for me to walk through the diocese from Stoke to Lichfield. As we travelled along canals and rivers, through housing and industrial estates, across fields, and up and down hills, I was repeatedly struck by the way in which the stories of St Chad and those who have followed him through the centuries are threaded through the landscape of this part of Staffordshire. I carried with me a meqamia, an Ethiopian prayer stick, which I had been given on a visit to the ‘Jungle’ refugee camp outside Calais. It reminded me that many people are on the move in our world today: some’ like us, of their own free will, but others forcibly displaced, or escaping war or famine, or in search of a better life. As we walked on and I leaned on my meqamia, I knew in a quite tangible way the need in the journey of my life to lean on the supporting strength of the Holy Spirit.

Ann Fisher
Our pilgrimage with Bishop Michael leading up to his installation at Lichfield was a marvellous experience. What a joy to spend three days in glorious autumn weather, making our way through such varied and interesting landscape and sharing simple pleasures of walking, talking, eating, praying, laughing and quiet reflection with a wonderful group of people. It was great to spend time with old friends as well as deepening friendships with newer acquaintances and making completely new  connections. Walking the Two Saints’ Way gave me a real sense of connection with the landscape, its history and its communities past and present. It was also an opportunity to reflect on and be grateful for so many blessings: the freedom to walk and to share our beliefs without fear of persecution; the beauty of our surroundings, especially at Creationtide; the warmth with which we were welcomed along the way and, of course, the wonderful celebration at the Cathedral at the start of Bishop Michael’s ministry in the Diocese. I returned home feeling uplifted, refreshed and with many memories to treasure. Thank you for including me and I look forward to sharing more journeys with you all in the future.

David Pott
I am so thankful for how the whole pilgrimage went. My main desire was that it would give Bishop Michael ample opportunity to get to know the diocese in this most natural and Christ like of ways by walking and meeting people, so one of my main pleasures was just seeing him in conversation with people! “Bishop’s move” was a word I got early in the pilgrimage and I am glad to think that Bishop Michael is indeed a bishop on the move and full of purpose and I think that will be great for the whole diocese. I am also so grateful to all the good folk along the way who provided us with such excellent refreshments and always a warm welcome. It was very good to have such a wonderful core team and getting to know each of them better was special too. If I were to choose just one highlight amongst many it would have to be that morning coffee and cake in the Liveings garden – the warmth of the sun, the warmth of the company, the special pilgrimage place – perfect!

Ali Shadravani
Walking the Two Saints Way with Bishop Michael, David, Sally, Ann and other pilgrims we meet along the way was an amazing experience for me. It really made me think about the great importance and value of the the right leadership in all areas of our lives. David was so familiar with the route we were walking, that he knew instantly if someone out at the front was leading us the wrong way. He also knew from his experience which parts of the path were too difficult, and so he took us by an alternative route to avoid getting into trouble. Bishop Michael has come to lead us in our diocese, and I’m sure that he is the right person to lead us at this time. However, we know that he will only be able to do that as he is led by  Jesus, who walks all of our journeys with us. So I will continue to pray for Bishop Michael, that he will always hear the voice of Jesus, saying “This is the way, walk here alongside me”.

Sally Smith
It was a great privilege to be invited to be a part of the core team walking with Bishop Michael, to his seat in Lichfield Cathedral. When I initially accepted the invitation, I was sure that I had several months to get fit and practice walks which were more than a just ‘potter around the park with the dogs’. However, time went by quickly, and so as the pilgrimage approached, I wondered how I would manage to complete it. However, I learned a very great lesson on this walk. And it was the great necessity of walking together, and sharing each others burdens. When I found the path difficult, and when my backpack felt heavy, it was the support and encouragement of my fellow pilgrims that kept me going. Ali carried my bag and supplied me with water, and David encouraged us and gave us lots to think about with his stories and reflections along the way. Bishop Michael has joined us as our Diocesan Bishop at a crucial time, as the need for mutual support for each other in our diocese, and with our ecumenical partners has never been more needed. I pray that Bishop Michael will know the anointing of the Holy Spirit as he leads us, and that he will be gifted in bringing together parishes and deaneries that are divided, as we seek to serve God together, supporting and helping each other, to be the people of God in the world.

Route updates to 14 September 2016

TWO SAINTS WAY PATH CHANGES as at 14 September 2016

East of Audley (Section 2 Stage7)
A short section of the disused railway track has been changed so that it now follows the definitive footpath. Here are the new directions from west to east after passing through Leddy’s Field Wildlife area: Go on ahead through the kissing gate and the path goes straight up hill with a hedge on the left. At the field boundary go through the hedge gap and fork right and initially walk 50 yards towards a prominent tree then turn left by the fence passing another tree on your left. Go downhill and across a damp patch to cross a stile and then go down a lane which can be muddy at times. This opens out into a field. After 60 yards turn right into the next field. The path goes straight ahead but you may chose to skirt around this damp section before finding the next stile across a small field leading to a path across the disused railway.
These are directions from east to west from the railway: ross a small field and then turn right. Skirt round a damp patch and go through to the next field where you turn immediately left and walk into a lane which is often muddy. Pass a gate on your left and then cross a stile also on your left. Go right over another a damp patch and then uphill passing between two trees and then walking half right after a fence post. At the corner of the field go through the hedge across a duck board into a field and go down the hill with the hedge on your right to reach a kissing gate where you go through to Leddy’s Field Wildlife area.

Stoke-on-Trent North (Section 2 Stage 8)
The route which took the path of the old ‘Burslem Arm’ canal has been permanently re-routed, making it much easier for walkers. A new path has been created behind a new development of apartments, in the area of Newport Lane, Burslem.

Walking South, p59-60:
Leave the Trent and Mersey canal at bridge 123, going over the bridge onto Newport Lane and passing the derelict bottle kiln, Oliver’s Mill, on your left. Continue ahead to Luke Street and turn right alongside the new development of apartments. This is the site of the old Burslem Port. At the end of Luke Street turn left behind the apartments on a wide path; at the end turn right to take a narrow path down and over an old canal bridge, go straight over past another scrap dealers on the right, cross the access track to their entrance entering a a field ahead of you. (You can now rejoin the instructions from paragraph 2 on page 60 of the guidebook).

Walking North, p130:
Having passed the allotments and bungalows and gone diagonally across a field. Leave the field crossing over the access track to a scrap dealers on your left (this was once the main warehouse for the Burslem Arm stretch of canal), take the narrow path ahead, crossing an old canal bridge and going straight up to the road and new housing development ahead. Turn left taking the wide path behind the new apartment complex. Walk to the end, noting the sign marking the site of the former Burslem Port. Turn right along the side of the apartments, which is Luke Street. Turn left onto Newport Lane and walk to meet the Trent and Mersey Canal at bridge 123. Turn north along the canal.(You can now rejoin the instructions from paragraph 4 on p130 of the guidebook).

Stoke-on-Trent, Festival Park (Section 2, Stage 8)
Low wooden palisade is no longer situated in the Festival Gardens, close to the bridge over the ravine.
Going north, p129 guidebook
Going south, p60 guidebook

Central Stafford (Section 4 Stage 13)
There are developments on the north bank of the river which mean the footpath is temporarily closed. This means that if you are travelling south after leaving St Chad’s, turn left at Nationwide BS into South Walls. Cross the A 34 to Asda and when you reach the store turn right to reach the riverside and regain the river turning left towards Milford. If you are journeying north leave the riverside at Asda, cross over the A 34 into South Walls and turn right at Nationwide and St Chad’s will then be very soon on your right.

Baswich Lane east of Stafford (Section 4 Stage 13)
Baswich Lane can be very busy and if you would like to avoid this you can use the new Two Waters Way and St Thomas Lane as a longer but safer alternative.

Black Covert Wood west of Holdiford Road, near Milford (Section 4 Stage 13)
The path you are supposed to use to the south of the main track is often overgrown here and you may find you have to stick to the main track through two gates here.


Download a Word file of the above here

A Pilgrimage with the new Bishop of Lichfield


Earlier this year a friend mentioned to me that the newly appointed Bishop of Lichfield, Michael Ipgrave who has been the Bishop of Woolwich, is a keen walker and suggested he might appreciate a copy of The Two Saints Way guidebook. I duly sent him a copy and quite soon I had a card from him thanking me for the guidebook and mentioning that he might be able to link his inauguration, which will take place in Lichfield Cathedral on September 24th, with The Two Saints Way.

This initial contact has led to the arrangement of a three day pilgrimage immediately prior to Bishop Michael’s inauguration. This will be at the conclusion of a nine day ‘Season of Welcome’ which will give opportunities for people to meet the new bishop. I have agreed to lead the pilgrimage and there will be a small core team including Ann Fisher who was High Sheriff of Staffordshire last year, Rev Sally Smith, Team Vicar in Hanley and Ali Shadravani who is from Iran and has been involved with the Sanctus Project for refugees and asylum seekers – see Sally’s husband Roy has kindly agreed to drive the support vehicle.

With there just being three days available for the pilgrimage we have decided to start at Stoke Minster. All the churches on the Two Saints Way will be visited and there will be opportunities to meet him there and to join the pilgrimage itself. If you would like to come, please note the points at the end of the plan which follows. An Indian summer in late September would be very welcome, but whatever the weather I look forward to walking the route again and introducing the Two Saints Way to Bishop Michael. Do please pass on this information to anyone you think may be interested

Wednesday 21st September – Stoke to Stone

Time Event/Location
09:00 Morning prayer at Stoke Minster
09:20 Walk from Stoke to Trentham – 3.5 miles
11:15 Refreshments at St Mary’s Trentham
11:45 Walk from Trentham to Tittensor – 3 miles
13:15 Lunch at St Luke’s Tittensor
14:30 Walk from Tittensor to Stone – 5 miles
16:45 Arrive St Michael & St Wulfad Stone

Thursday 22nd September – Stone to Stafford

Time Event/Location
09:00 Morning prayer Priory House Stone
09:20 Walk from Stone to Aston and Burston – 4 miles
11:15 Refreshments at Burston
11:45 Walk from Burston to Hopton – 3 miles
13:30 Lunch at Hopton
14:45 Walk from Hopton to Stafford – 3 miles
16:30 Arrive at St Mary’s Stafford

Friday 23rd September – Stafford to Lichfield

Time Event/Location
08:00 Morning prayer at St Chad’s Stafford
08:20 Walk from Stafford to St Thomas Priory – 2m
09:45 Morning refreshments at St Thomas Priory
10:15 Walk from St Thomas Priory to Milford – 2.5
11:45 Arrive at Milford Common then drive across Cannock Chase
12:15 Arrive at Christ Church Gentleshaw and lunch
13:15 Walk from Gentleshaw to Farewell – 3 miles
14:45 Refreshments at St Bartholomew’s Farewell
15:15 Walk from Farewell to Lichfield – 3 miles
17:00 Arrive at St Chad’s Lichfield
  • You are welcome to join the walk and there is no need to book
  • Please bring your own provisions with you and arrange your own transport
  • There is a schedule to keep to and evening meetings for Bishop Michael so please be aware of the need to maintain a steady pace
  • Please note that as there is not enough time to do all of the Two Saints Way from Stafford to Lichfield on Friday, it will be in two parts with a morning walk of 4.5 miles from Stafford to Milford and an afternoon walk of 6 miles from Gentleshaw to Lichfield.
  • For further enquiries before the pilgrimage please ring David Pott on 07932 790525 and during the pilgrimage ring Sally Smith on 07962 025659

Walking past 70…


On May 2nd, I reach my ‘three score years and ten’ and so at this new fresh stage in my life, I’ve decided to walk (surprise?!) The Weardale Way which is 70+ a few miles. This time I’m not going to do it all in a couple of days as I did with The Two Saints Way 5 years ago. It’s time for a more reflective walk getting to know this lovely part of the world in County Durham that my wife and I have come to after three years on the Isle of Arran.

As well as walking, I would like to raise some funds for The Two Saints Way and for a project called Food4Thought through our charity Fountain Gate Trust – Reg Charity no 298768.

Pilgrim Pods on The Two Saints Way
The recent publication of the guidebook, recently described as “highly impressive” by Walk Magazine, means we are expecting more walkers this year. There is a great need for suitable accommodation for the unemployed or others on low incomes who would like to walk the Two Saints Way but cannot afford to pay normal B&B prices. We want to raise funds for 5 ‘pilgrim pods’ at 12-15 mile intervals along the route. If I can start the ball rolling with £2,000 I am hoping that individuals, local churches and councils will add to my £400 grants to buy the pods. The idea would be that these pilgrim pods would cost no more than £20 a night.

The challenge is to find the right 5 locations – they might be on a farm or a churchyard or even in someone’s garden. If you would be interested in this possibility or have any other advice on camping pods, please get in touch with me.

2sw-food4thoughtWe have been providing daily meals for 100 children at The Good Shepherd Nursery School in Pirang in The Gambia now for 3 years.
It is a critical project which began when we responded to the heart cry of the headteacher Binta Badjie who said to us, “How can the children learn when they have no food in their bellies?” The photo shows the children with doughnuts at the first meal we put on! We urgently need to raise £2,000 to ensure that the children continue to be fed in the coming year.

How to Donate
You can donate online to the Fountain Gate Trust account at Lloyds TSB Sort Code 30-95-02 Account no 00225314 or if you prefer you
can send a cheque payable to Wendy Cleary, The Treasurer, Fountain Gate Trust, c/o 32 Garrick Road, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS137DR. Please indicate if you wish your gift to be allocated just to The Two Saints Way Project or Food4Thought or else we will divide your donation between the two. If you are in a position to Gift Aid your donation please give via this link:

Thank-you so much.

The Two Saints Way Guide Launch Pilgrimage

candleIt is now three months since the launch pilgrimage for the Two Saints Way guidebook took place. I had hoped to write sooner, but I have been pre-occupied with a house move from the Isle of Arran to Bishop Auckland in County Durham which has now taken place.

The pilgrimage began appropriately on the afternoon of All Saints Day Sunday November 1st at the shrine of St Werburgh in Chester Cathedral. The small group were welcomed by Canon Jane Brooke and she was presented with a Two Saints Way candle by Ann Fisher who during her time in office as High Sheriff of Staffordshire had walked The Two Saints Way. I was also delighted to receive one of The Two Saints Way candles which had also been delivered to others churches along The Two Saints Way. During her pilgrimage Ann had also raised funds for the High Sheriff’s fund and it was excellent that a grant was provided so that free copies of the guidebook could be given to the 22 schools that were on the route. Delivering those guide books during the week was a very worthwhile and enjoyable part of the pilgrimage.

tsw2We then walked the short distance to St John’s Church for the official Chester launch where we were welcomed by a choir singing “When the Saints Come Marching in” which was lovely, but we didn’t feel we quite deserved it after only walking those few yards! Father David Chesters welcomed us and then I shared some thoughts about the significance of Chester as a pilgrimage city and introduced the guide. We then enjoyed refreshments and sold our first copies of the guide which I duly signed. To conclude the day, we walked along the first stretch of The Two Saints Way out to Christelton checking on signage as we went.

tsw3It was a great pleasure to have my friend Pete Adams walking with me on Sunday and Monday and the photographs from these two days are his. Monday was a grey and misty day where I was often describing the views that could not be seen, but it was a day full of good things all the same.

tsw4When we turned off the canal towards Beeston Castle, we met up with some walkers who were glad to buy a copy of the guide. I had envisaged this possibility and it certainly was a good moment. Soon after Pete took this photo of me fixing a sign by a new kissing gate.


This photo captures the atmosphere of the day very well with the tower of St Boniface Bunbury in the misty background. A few moments earlier Marg Hardcastle here on my right had caught up with us. She has worked with me on the development of the Two Saints Way since it started. She had chosen this week to complete walking sections of The Two Saints Way she had not walked before
and it was great that she should be the first to use the guide book after its publication.


Two other highlights of the day are illustrated in these photos. Snugbury’s famous ice creams are close by The Two Saints Way and since they get a mention in the guide, we sold a copy there and even though it was not the kind of day you’d normally go for ice creams, Pete’s offer to treat us was not to be missed! In the photo I am indulging with Tim Saxton, who was my special companion throughout the week driving his guidebook laden car and dealing with sales at all the launches. In the evening the launch was at the wonderful Nantwich Bookshop and it was a very special and well attended occasion. The owner, Steve Lawson had put on a great spread before I spoke and afterwards a good number of guides were sold.

tsw8After that first full day of walking, I actually took very few photos myself during the rest of the week. It continued to be very cloudy and overcast and there was one extremely wet day on Thursday so it was not the best of weather for photographs. Also I was very much focussed on checking the signage and improving it wherever possible. Crossing the M6 is always something of an event on the journey so I
thought I should make sure there were two markers in the middle of the bridge there indicating the ways to Chester and Lichfield!

tsw9On Tuesday, we had the launch at Englesea Brook Chapel and Museum which I always regard as a special highlight and on Wednesday it was held at the Potteries Museum. Before that, Philip Swan, who had been with me on the inaugural pilgrimage on the Two Saints Way in 2012, met me at Westport Lake with five asylum seekers from Afghanistan and Iran and we walked together along the
canal and through Festival Park to the museum. It was a very positive experience for all of us and it was good for them to see more attractive parts of the city.

tsw10Although as I have mentioned it was cloudy and grey for most of the way, there was still much to please the eye. On the left is a photo of the golden birch leaf pathway ascending to Seven Sisters above Trentham Park.

On Thursday evening our launch was at Christ Church Stone which is the church I attended when we lived in Stone, so it was very good to be joined on that evening by many good friends who have been good supporters of the Two Saints Way.

On Friday, I was joined by Martin and Sue Goodchild on the journey to Stafford where the launch was hosted in the Mayor’s Parlour by the very jovial and hospitable mayor Peter Jones. I think this was arguably the most relaxed of the launches with the most laughter! Afterwards Tim and I went to the fascinating old Stafford windmill where I did an interview for Radio Windmill. It went well and Ian and Lisa Tiso the delightful couple who run the station decided to make a full length programme out of it, that was broadcast on the following Sunday and there were a few other repeat broadcasts as well.

You can hear the interview (without the music) if you click here.

tsw11And so to the final day which began with some more very heavy rain, butthen in the afternoon, wonder of wonders, the sun broke through as we descended from Chorley to Farewell! It is difficult to describe just how uplifting that parting of the clouds was and the sun lighting up the autumn colours!

I was joined by Lichfield coordinator Angela Bickley with her granddaughter Chloe, Marion Kettle from Farewell and again by Ann Fisher and Julia Roberts.

The last stretch along Cross in Hand was memorable not just for the sunshine, but also for an encounter with a man who was working in his garden as we were looking at a small cave beside the road. We asked him if he knew anything about the cave and he proceeded to tell us all about The Two Saints Way! He explained (as we all knew very well) that Cross in Hand Lane was part of an ancient pilgrimage route now revived as The Two Saints Way and that the cave was believed to be occupied by a candle seller. Candles were required to be given by those going on a penitential pilgrimage. We soon revealed to him that I was involved in the reviving of the route and he was very glad to receive a copy go the guidebook.

tsw12At Lichfield Cathedral we were warmly welcomed by Canon Pat Hawkins and she conducted a brief foot washing ceremony before I spoke. After book signing there, we made the short journey to St Chad’s. It was a fine sunset and I took some photos of that wonderful view of the cathedral with Stowe Pool in the foreground. That sunset along with an excellent tea and final prayers formed a fitting conclusion to the pilgrimage.


There were so many people who contributed generously to this launch pilgrimage…

We enjoyed wonderful hospitality in Chester at the home of Catherine Green, In Allsager with John and Pat Percival and for three nights in Stone with Sean and Helen Kennedy.

For each of the seven launch events, the local organisers worked hard to ensure that we were taken care of and that there were people there to buy guidebooks! There were others too who provided refreshments for us along the way at Bunbury, Chesterton and Burston.

Julie Jones, CEO of Lichfield Diocese helped us with fuel costs on the journey as well as having sponsored our pre-launch event in July with North Staffs YMCA.

I have mentioned Ann Fisher and her generous contribution for guidebooks for schools.

Last but by no means least, I am so grateful to my dear friend Tim Saxton for taking care of the guidebook sales and driving the car, always being flexible and ready to help not only myself but others who joined us too.

TSW Guidebook

Copies of the Two Saints Way Guidebook are available from the following outlets and cost £12.99 eachIMG_2223

The Northumbria Community: Tel: 01670 787645

Online shop:

In person, from:

Chester Cathedral Bookshop:   Tel: 01244 699049

Nantwich Bookshop, 46 High St, Nantwich:   Tel: 01270611665

The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Bethesda St, Stoke-on-Trent:  Tel: 01782 232323

Lichfield Cathedral Shop:  Tel: 01543 306150

Online retailers: You can also obtain the guidebook by ordering it at other bookshops or other online outlets. The ISBN is 9781910786215.







Pilgrimage to Launch Two Saints Way Guidebook

2014022 TSW HI RES CoverThe full colour guidebook to the revived Two Saints Way will be launched in the first week of November in seven venues along the ancient pilgrimage route between the cathedral cities of Chester and Lichfield. I will be walking the route to each venue in a special pilgrimage to mark the launch. Here are the details of each launch:

Sunday Nov 1 @ 2:30pm St John’s Church Vicar’s Lane CHESTER CH1 1SN
Monday Nov 2 @ 6:30pm Nantwich Bookshop, 46 High St, NANTWICH 
Tuesday Nov 3 @ 4:00pm, Englesea Brook Chapel & Museum, Brook Lane, Englesea Brook, CREWE

Wednesday Nov 4 @ 3:30pm Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Bethesda Street,
Thursday Nov 5 @ 7:30pm Christ Church Hall, Christ Church Way STONE ST15 8ZB
Friday Nov 6 @ 3:00pm Mayor’s Parlour, Civic Centre, Riverside, STAFFORD ST16 3AQ
Saturday Nov 7 @ 2:30pm Lichfield Cathedral LICHFIELD WS13 7LD, followed by refreshments at St Chad’s Church, St Chad’s Rd, LICHFIELD WS13 7ND

After the launch, guidebooks will be available through The Northumbria Community online shop or by calling 01670 787645. It will also be available via bookshops.

I will also be delivering copies of the guide to schools along the route, funded through the Staffordshire Community Foundation. As High Sheriff of Staffordshire, Ann Fisher journeyed with others along The Two Saints Way last year to raise funds for this and other charities and I am very grateful to her. I have enough to supply 20 schools in this way. If anyone else would like to provide guidebooks for other schools please get in touch with me.

Here is Ann Fisher’s comment on the guidebook:

“There is a wealth of information in this new guide. On our pilgrimage, I learnt a great deal about areas which have been familiar to me for many years, but I had no idea of their rich history. Our group had a real sense of walking in the footsteps of St Chad and I would highly recommend both The Two Saints Way and the guidebook.”

I do hope I will be able to see many of you at the launches.

Two Saints Way Progress Report

The Two Saints Way GuidebookTSW_Guidebook It has been a major task getting the guidebook ready – the assembling of photographs and obtaining permissions has proved a lengthy process. Finalising the mapping is the final task before we can hopefully publish later in the year.

Inevitably changes occur with the route such as kissing gates being installed in place of stiles. For that reason it would be very good if we could find volunteers who could walk different parts of the route in the next two months before it goes for publication. If you can help in this way do contact David Pott at and we will send you the relevant part of the guide for you to check for accuracy.

We are thinking of having a walk on the Two Saints Way with book launches in Chester, Nantwich, Stoke, Stone, Stafford and Lichfield.


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By the Way

In recent months there have been some excellent articles in the Swynnerton Parish Magazine about different people who have been impacted in some way by the Two Saints Way. I am very grateful to Frank Mugglestone who edits the magazine and wrote this article for permission to use it for this blog…

Frank Mugglestone“The pilgrims of old would have stayed here” says Tony Liveing. Hewas showing us the ruins of St.Thomas’ Priory just next to the old Mill House, a Grade II listed building, where he and his wife Marie have lived for the past fourteen years.

We were able to see the priory by kind permission of their neighbour, who owns the land where the remains of the 12th century priory are to be found. Tony told us that the priory, which was destroyed during the Reformation, was once owned by Rowland Lee, Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, who married Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. As a return for the favour he was allowed to buy the priory, and rumour has it that he is buried in the grounds. Afterwards we were invited for coffee in the lovely old Mill House, where Marie, who had been looking at our Parish Magazine, told us that she had been ‘blessed’, alas not by something deeply spiritual in one of the articles, but by finding a carpet cleaner in one of the advertisements!

Marie LiveingThe couple first came across the Old Mill when they were walking in the area and saw that it was for sale. Says Tony “I rang the estate agent who said that it had already been sold, but Marie suggested we went back to look at it again, and we met a relative of the owners, who told us that the buyers couldn’t get a mortgage, and it was for sale again. The house was in ruins, but after praying about it we decided to buy it and renovate it. Do you always have to see a clear long term vision, or sometimes just walk blindfold and trust that it’s God’s will? It’s been a rocky road and we’ve still got a long way to go.” Marie told us about some of the problems they had had with plumbing and flooding. “Our house was even featured in the TV series ‘Real Wrecks’!”

Like the monks of old Marie and Tony have provided accommodation for a
(modern day) pilgrim, who was looking into the possibility of using the pilgrim route as a youth activity. The Liveings belong to St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church in Stafford. When they had finished renovating their house it was blessed by their priest. “Every year, on the nearest Saturday to the 27th July we have a service in our barn in memory of Blessed Robert Sutton who was hanged drawn and quartered for being a priest” they told us.

Although they were both brought up in the Roman Catholic Church Marie and Tony have many connections with other churches. For Marie her faith has always been central to her life, and she even considered becoming a nun.” I spent a week at St Cecilia’s Benedictine Abbey, an enclosed order at Ryde, Isle of Wight. I still keep up the connection by praying for them and they pray for me” she explains.

Tony indicates their home right on the Two Saints Way

Tony indicates their home right on
the Two Saints Way

She told us about a terrifying ordeal when she went for a walk in the snow at Glen Coe with her brothers: “Afterwards we intended glissading (a controlled slide using ice axe) down the mountain. My brothers went first and I followed, but I relaxed too much, gathered speed, went out of control and began to panic. Then I prayed. My brothers were convinced I was dead, but I believe it was praying that helped me to relax and saved me from being badly injured.” Unlike Marie, Tony moved away from the Church and rejected everything Catholic. “While I was at agricultural college in York I was feeling lonely and lost and decided to go to Mass, although I hadn’t been near a church for months. I saw Marie there and we eventually got to know each other. In the meantime a friend from college persuaded me to visit an Anglican church where I met the vicar, David Watson. Although he was going off on a mission he took the trouble to write to me that night and it was this personal contact that influenced me greatly and I became a Christian.”

After the couple moved to Stafford Tony went to Rising Brook Baptist Church, and also to the Roman Catholic Church with Marie and their children. “I felt I needed a broader view of Christianity” he says. Tony and Marie are both committed members of the Catholic Church, and find comfort in the structure, theological roots and authority they find there, but other churches and house groups have had an influence, particularly on Tony.
“We’re all God’s children” they told us“ and we’re still a work in progress.”