A Letter from Nantwich

May 2015

 Follow in pilgrims' footsteps on saints' way

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The interpretation board in the grounds of St Mary's Church announcing the attraction of the Great Church of Nantwich and outlining Stage 5 of the Way - Nantwich to Wybunbury.

A 90-MILE pilgrimage route from Cheshire to Staffordshire - which passes through Nantwich - is being walked by keen individuals and club members.

   As well as having a stock of a specially-produced leaflet (below), St Mary's Church has erected an interpretation board in Church Walk. There is also talk of a booklet to come.

   The leaflet says the pilgrimage is 88 miles long, while the official website [www.twosaintsway.org.uk] has it at 92. The interpretation board opts for the round figure of 90 miles.

   It is not, of course, suggested that you tackle the marathon walk in one go. Many people are tackling it in stages, taking a bus to one location and walking along the route to the next convenient bus stop. Next time they return to that bus stop and walk the next stage.

   David Pott, Founder of the Two Saints' Way Project, says this was arranged so that walkers could have day walks with connections to bus routes.

   There are four sections to the Way - Section 1 is from Chester to Nantwich and section 2 from Nantwich to Stoke-on-Trent - and each section has four stages  Stage 4 is Bunbury to Nantwich and stage 5, Nantwich to Wybunbury.

   The interpretation board describes features of Nantwich Church, saying "Here are some reasons why you should take a look inside."

   The headline on the board is "The Great Church of St Mary's, Nantwich". That's not a comment about the church but an indication that the sandstone building joined the Greater Churches Network of 44 churches in the U.K. with the characteristics of a cathedral in 2014.  

   The two saints of the Way are St Werburgh, patron saint of Chester Cathedral, in Cheshire, and St Chad, patron saint of Lichfield, in Staffordshire.

   The parish church at Wybunbury is also dedicated to St Chad.    

   The Way can be tackled in either direction. The leaflet advises participants that by walking from Chester to

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pilgrims seeing this view are approaching the end of stage four of the Two Saints' Way. With the interpretation board on the right of the image, this is Church Walk leading from The Square (the town centre) to St Mary's Church

Lichfield the easier walking comes at the beginning "and you have time to prepare for hillier sections in Staffordshire."

   But there is a "plus" for walkers going from Lichfield to Chester in that "the views are often better with the sun behind you in the south" - particularly between October and March.

   The route is marked by small circular boards, with those featuring the cross of St Chad showing the direction to Lichfield and those with the goose of St Werburgh pointing the way to Chester.  

   There is no suggestion that the two saints walked the Way, but that the shrines of the saints, at Chester and Lichfield, were popular destinations for pilgrims in Medieval times.

   The Two Saints' Way Project is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee.     

 

l ONE local organisation walking the route in stages is the Wednesday Walking Group of Crewe and Nantwich Rambling Club who adopted the technique for their fortnightly rambles - catching a bus to somewhere and walking back to the starting point at the Nantwich Lake car park. Their other walks are circular, starting at, and returning to, the lakeside car park off the junction of Park Road and Shrewbridge Road

 

l IF walking isn't your favourite pastime, you could arrange a tour of the church (by a tour guide) or a tapestry tour (by a member of the tapestry-making team).

 

   www.stmarynantwich.org.uk | tour booking form

www.twosaintsway.org.uk | Greater Churches Network

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