Wild Waters: Awakening to Well-Being. Ancient Pilgrimage Route to Aquae Sulis, Bath

Consciousness & Spirituality, Health & Wellbeing

Wild Waters: Awakening to Well-Being. Ancient Pilgrimage Route to Aquae Sulis, Bath

Pilgrimage with Will Parsons, Dr Guy Hayward

Another of our amazing pilgrimages in collaboration with our great friends at The British Pilgrimage Trust!

Saturday 3rd June to Sunday 4th June, 2017 Bath, UK

Wild Waters: Awakening to Well-Being. Ancient Pilgrimage Route to Aquae Sulis, Bath

Read the recent Guardian article about them here.

Connect to nature, cleanse your spirit and awaken your inner wildness on a special pilgrimage, walking an ancient route from Frome to the holy waters of Aquae Sulis, Bath. Culminating in the unique hot mineral-rich springs where the Celts revered their goddess Sul, and which have drawn pilgrims for thousands of years.

Immersing ourselves in the natural world and the sacred histories within it, we will encounter ancient sites and special places, from Singing Tunnels to Holy Wells and water wonders every step of the way. Yoga and meditation, bonfire tales, hilltop picnics and stargazing, wild swimming and wild water drinking, Earth rituals, raucous pub dinner and a night beneath the stars at Iford Manor, will all feature in an inspiring weekend that will ground your awareness and lift your heart.

The waters of Bath have long been sacred to the Celts, Romans and Christians, and we will take full advantage of this wet and watery tradition of well-being, as we un-stick, un-plug and reconnect to the wild, cleansing our bodies, minds and spirits. Exploring wild water drinking and swimming as indigenous British sacred traditions of inner cleansing – with added bonus of skin in sun and joyful health – the route will include beautiful wild swimming spots and wild water drinking springs before reaching our final destination of the Aquae Sulis thermae spa.

The Walk: Expect flat, easy riverside walking on public footpaths – a wild wealth of flora and fauna - colourful canal culture – heritage and holy sites – an ancient island chapel on a lake - fording the river ford at Iford Manor – discovering the lost holy well of Lady Emma in the Priory Woods – drinking from seven springs between Frome and Bath – immersing in the wild waters of the River Frome and the River Avon - culminating at the ancient holy waters of Aquae Sulis – where you can drink from the King Spring and bathe in the Thermae Baths.

Sleeping: Camping in bell tents within the beautiful grounds of Iford Manor. With comfortable rollmats and sleeping bags provided, of course.


Day 1 - Frome to Iford Manor - 11 miles

Day 2 - Iford Manor to Bath - 12 miles

What you get for your ticket…#

£75. One night’s accommodation and breakfast on Sunday is included, along with the Thermae Spa entrance fee of £38 per person. Please note this does not include lunch and dinner.

All donations go straight into the British Pilgrimage Trust (HMRC Reg: EW38990), a charitable trust seeking to open up Britain’s pilgrimage tradition in newly inclusive and exciting ways.

Guided by Will and Guy - co-founders of the British Pilgrimage Trust (see below).

This pilgrimage is open to all. Bring your own beliefs. All are welcome.

A journey guaranteed to make you re-encounter Britain in new (and very old) ways.

Why Pilgrimage?#

Today in Britain, the British Pilgrimage Trust is helping to spearhead a new inclusive approach to pilgrimage, promoting it as ‘Open to All – With or Without Religion’. Their motto is ‘Bring Your Own Beliefs’. With the taboo of religious identity bypassed, pilgrimage in Britain can offer an accessible and healthy form of spiritual tourism that does not prescribe belief, which promotes well-being and access to heritage for all participants.

Visit The British Pilgrimage to learn more about the movement of British pilgrimage.

Or see recent articles in the Times, the Guardian, the Independent, the Spectator, Resurgence Magazine, Simple Things and Positive News, or features on BBC1, Channel 4 and Radio 4!

From Guy and Will: We provide full guidance, navigation, and support - as well as the fruit of our extensive pilgrimage experience, including the teaching of pilgrim songs, foraging teas 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, 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 stone floor in ancient cloisters (albeit on comfy mats). 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.

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.


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 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. More detail on what to bring will be sent to you in your order confirmation email.

When will the event start and end?

The pilgrimage begins at Frome train station at 9.45am on Saturday 3rd June. It ends in Bath at 7:30pm on Sunday 4th June.

How far is it? Is the terrain difficult?

Each day is approximately 11 - 12 miles walking. This is not especially far, but nor is it entirely easy. You’ll feel it, but not too badly. Most of the walking is lowland and flat, along mud and grass tracks. There are a few mild ascents and descents, but nothing really beyond very moderate. For the distances, we require all attendees to have minimum walking fitness and confidence that such distances are unlikely to prove excessive.

Where can I contact the organiser with any questions?

You can contact the organisers by telephone: Will (07415 223552), Guy (07841 518110) and India (07837784011) Or email us: info@britishpilgrimage.org

Saturday 3rd June to Sunday 4th June, 2017 Bath, UK

Will Parsons #

Original conceiver of the British Pilgrimage Trust, since 2004 Will has had a dream to revive pilgrimage as Britain’s national spiritual pastime. In this quest he has taken British pilgrimage from BBC1 to Vogue Magazine. Previously a wandering minstrel, Will also works to integrate traditional song into British pilgrimage, and to re-establish the concept of nature as a pilgrimage destination.

Read Will Parsons’s profile

Dr Guy Hayward #

Guy co-founded the British Pilgrimage Trust, after completing a PhD at Cambridge on how singing forms community. Guy also runs the website choralevensong.org and is one half of musical comedy duo Bounder & Cad.

Read Dr Guy Hayward’s profile