Tag Archives: Chester Cathedral

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:
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/s4ltwosaintsway

Tired but happy fundraisers outside The Crown Hotel in Nantwich

Walk organisers Simon & Elaine Jackson

Ken & Sue’s Pilgramige

For the blog this month, I am handing over to Sue Down who with her husband Ken
have been journeying along the Two Saints Way. Here’s their story…

Ken & I are grandparents, still working but approaching retirement age. We haven’t done much walking but do run quite a bit and have managed to complete a couple of half marathons. When we heard about the Two Saints Way, we were excited at the prospect of walking a long-distance path that went through our ‘own patch’. We loved the fact that the path has such a richness about it from retracing the footsteps of ancient pilgrims and getting a good view of the Staffordshire Hoard; exploring our  industrial heritage through the Potteries and the canals; having the opportunity to level in glorious countryside such as Cannock Chase and the Trentham Estate as well as exploring beautiful English cities, towns and villages.

So the decision was made to walk the way in six days, beginning on 1st April. We planned the route by comparing the draft guide book to Google Earth and an Ordnance Survey Street Atlas that we had. We booked a couple of B&Bs and contacted friends in Baddeley Green. David sent out a barrage of emails to let people know that we were on our way and four friends and their dog agreed to join us for the first day.

We had a thoroughly enjoyable time exploring Chester on Bank Holiday Monday, the highlight being a very informative tour of the Cathedral led by Nick Fry. The weather was dry and sunny albeit bitterly cold. We were very glad to stretch our legs and set off for Christleton. After having a good look round this pretty village we headed for The Cheshire Cat which backs onto the canal. We were superbly well looked after and would have no hesitation in recommending this excellent Innkeepers Lodge.

Tuesday was another dry, bright day with a cold wind. We set off towards Nantwich at a brisk pace which, sadly, we were not able to maintain throughout the day. Ken developed painful blisters on his heels and later in the day I too discovered a few problems with my feet. We lost our way for a time at Calveley when we couldn’t find any way markers to help us. We soon got back onto the canal towpath and continued on our way. To keep our spirits up, we found ourselves singing old hymns – fortunately, there were not many people around at that point! I think the highlight of the day must be limping into Nantwich, 11 hours after we set out, eating fish & chips from the shop on Chester Road. We stayed the night at The Crown Hotel, a bit pricey but a very welcome resting point.

We started Wednesday with a tour of the beautiful St Mary’s Nantwich, thanks to Alan Joslyn, and the purchase of every blister treatment in the town. So with Ken’s wounds dressed and new socks on, off we went again. We decided to walk as far as the village of Hough and then get a bus as Ken’s feet were not up to more than 7 miles. Another dry day saw us crossing fields and strolling along country lanes. We stopped for coffee at the Swan Inn at Wybunbury which was most welcome. You can see on the left the very first Two Saints Way signs to be erected and a new panel with the map also. We got a bus to Crewe, then to Hanley and then to Baddeley Green, where we passed a very comfortable night with friends.

On Thursday morning we were finally able to see the Staffordshire Saxon and the Hoard, at The Potteries Museum, having failed on a couple of previous occasions.  We were back on the bus and heading for home in Stafford by lunchtime. More blister treatment and a night in our own bed saw us ready to fight another day.

Intrepid explorer on Two Saints Way near Tixall!

 

The path goes through the centre of Stafford and out along the River Sow to the edge of Cannock Chase at Milford. That is about 6 miles from our house so our plan was to reassess our fitness when we got there. I’m pleased to say that were able to keep going and enjoyed a fabulous 17 mile walk across the Chase to Beaudesert where Angela Bickley very kindly met us with hot chocolate and biscuits. The last pull up a steep, snow covered trail in the woods was tough but it was well worth it for the views from Castle Ring, the Iron Age fort on the highest point of the Chase.

After another very comfortable night spent with John & Christine Polhill at Reflections, their retreat centre home, we were off again. Wonderful sunshine, no wind for the first time all week and snow stacked up against the hedges. It was a delightful 8 mile stroll into Lichfield. We met up with Lilas Rawling, who walked the last little way with us and before we knew it we were at St Chad’s Well with Mike Preston excitedly showing us the drawings of the archaeological digs on the site. It was a fantastic, heady moment and I felt as though I could have turned around and walked all the way back to Chester!

Mission accomplished!

Probably just as well that Ken was there to keep my feet where they belonged and Lilas very kindly offered us a lift back to Stafford.

Two Saints Way is a wonderful walk that I would recommend to anyone. We learned many lessons about our own capabilities, God’s provision and the beauty of creation and the importance of having the right equipment for the job. We would be happy to help anyone else who is planning to walk the way and can always offer a bed for the night in Stafford. Oh, and we do intend to go back and walk the missing 30 miles!

Forward to the Ancient Future

A short report on the inaugural pilgrimage on the Two Saints Way

 The pilgrims walking round Castle Ring


First of all we were blessed with the most amazing weather. Wall to wall sunshine from March 25th to the 30th then two grey but mostly dry days before an absolute cracker of a day on April 1st. Secondly it was a great core group who completed the journey from Chester to Lichfield. I have led a lot of teams in my time, but this was a group that looked out for each other and was very welcoming to all those who joined us for days or half days. Finally we received the most wonderful hospitality all the way. Complete strangers were put up in people’s homes in every place where we stopped and churches put on amazing lunches and refreshment stops. It can rightly be said that the Two Saints Way is a product of hospitality.

So to some of the week’s highlights:-

  • We began in a beautiful place – having a picnic in the cloister garden at Chester Cathedral beside the beautiful Water of Life statue by Stephen Broadbent. A moving commissioning service followed before the west doors were opened for us to take our first steps to Lichfield.
  • When we arrived in Wybunbury, we were delighted to see the first Two Saints Way waymarks already in place beside the leaning tower of St Chad’s. It was a big encouragement to see this kind of local initiative. Later in the week, we put up waymarks between Tittensor and Stone expressing our desires for future pilgrims as we did so.
  • On Wednesday March 28th the bells peeled out from St Bertoline’s Barthomley as we began the day’s walk, then they followed us all day ringing to celebrate the opening of the Two Saints Way at St James Audley, St Mary’s Wolstanton and at Stoke Minster at the end of the day. That was a lovely gesture that encouraged us on our way!
  • On Thursday 29th we revived the ancient practice of preaching at the two old crosses at Stoke Minster and St Mary’s Trentham. Also we were joined by two Saxon pilgrims from the Poor Cnights of St Chad re-enactment group. They fitted in brilliantly and answered everyone’s questions about their get-up.
  • Reviving pilgrimage practices was a major feature of the journey. On Friday 30th, we brought stones to Stone which used to be done to remember that the martyr princes Wulfad and Rufin were buied under a pile of stones. On the final day we walked in silence down Cross in Hand Lane carrying hand crosses made of olive wood from Bethlehem and then in the pedilavium at Lichfield Cathedral our feet were washed by Canon Pete Wilcox. All these were moving and meaningful occasions and amazing to think they had probably not been done for over 460 years!
  • The final event began with us walking with the Bishop of Lichfield from the cathedral by Stowe Pool to St Chad’s Well, waving palm leaves and singing “To be a pilgrim.” A short dedication service followed during which the first interpretation panel was opened by the Bishop. It was a great occasion and many commented on the high quality of the panel.

Bishop of Lichfield with David Pott

My lasting impression is of profound gratitude for all the kindness and cooperation we have received and above all I am thankful to God, the source and inspiration for the Two Saints Way.

Photo Credits: Castle Ring – Tim Saxton,  Bishop of Lichfield & David Pott – Ian Law, Spotlight