The 40th Anniversary: origins & background detail

Celebrating 40 years of 

‘Peregrinations from Here to There’

Activities that began in 1976 and from which grew

Pathways: Inspirational Development CIC.

Walking pilgrimage from Bishop’s Castle to Hereford Cathedral

13th – 17th April 2016

For precise route, see detailed maps at the bottom of this page
Whan that Aprill with his shoures sote
 The droghte of Marche hath perced to the rote,
 And bathed euery veyne in swich licour,…
…….Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,

Tambo pic

Origins: 1976

The pilgrimage celebrated the 40th anniversary of a walking pilgrimage tradition started when 90 local school students & parents & friends, as part of the 1300th anniversary celebrations of Hereford Diocese, walked from Bishop’s Castle to Hereford Cathedral. This began a tradition which has since created approx 60 similar pilgrimages. The link is to an indicative map outlining most of the pilgrimages.


In 1976 at the suggestion of a retired Bishop of Worcester (Mervyn Charles-Edwards) a group was assembled at Bishop’s Castle County High School (as it then was) and along with various others gathered en route, the group of students (approximately 95, we never knew the exact number) and adults made their way to Hereford to be greeted at the boundary of the old city by the mayor & ‘a man with a cat on his head’ (as one person put it – the ‘cat’ still survives) and by the Bishop of Hereford at the Cathedral.

There was a mild chaos as we approached Hereford and the Civic reception.
The younger members of the group (being somewhat obsessed with football teams – a favourite was Leeds United!!) had already terrified certain young citizens with the the warlike quality of their chants (‘we’re going to eat you’ caused panic to some smaller resident children outside the Mother’s Pride Bakery). All survived and the pilgrimage arrived safely.
The pilgrimage was, for the Cathedral anniversary celebrations, second only to the Royal Maundy
76 Hfd info

Relics were collected (egg shells, talcum powder, bandages), stories of the miraculous St Tambo were recorded and later a reliquary was created which was, at the start of pilgrimage 2 in 1977,  blessed by Mervyn Charles-Edwards. These items still exist – stored safely in an under-stairs cupboard).

The tradition continued each year & developed. 

Each pilgrimage became, as a pilgrim in 2003 stated,  ‘temporary travelling communities’. As such they have encompassed most aspects of human existence – pregnancies have been announced (not sure if they’ve been created), marriages both resulted & broken & one pilgrimage was disrupted by the tragic death of a host the day before our arrival. They have also had international participants.
The original idea (exploring, in a practical manner, an aspect of religious practise) has developed into a process of social education, a means of exploring culture, tradition and heritage (built and environmental) & of personal creative artistic expression through the intentional, purposeful, stepped journey. 
16 ROUTE MAP web
There is further information about some of the pilgrimages on other pages of this site – with maps and links to Welsh Border activities

Pathways ID,

the Community Interest Company organising this 40th pilgrimage,

was created in 1995

to further the concept of ‘development pilgrimage’ & has in the process of using ‘journeys’ as an educational method, built partnerships across Europe 


The use of ‘creative journey’ has also led to international workshops based on the Welsh Border & in 2015 made a contribution to a Language & Culture Summer School for Chinese students at the University of Worcester. 
The courses are being increased in 2016.
Work using the ‘Creative Journey’ concept is expanding to include
– a contribution to a University degree course on Social Enterprise in North Wales. One which will include developing links with many of Pathway’s partners – especially in Central, Eastern & Southern Europe.
– creating neighbourhood based arboreal avenues & glades that variously encourage reflection and celebration
What began as a suggestion outside what was then Dave Richard’s Hair Salon (Mervyn Charles-Edwards was waiting for his wife) has developed – and will, it seems, continue to do so.


The first pilgrimage created its own stories, & even its own saint – St Tambo.

The ‘acts’ of Saint Tambo were revealed to one of the junior members of the pilgrimage who then charismatically expressed his vision to the whole assembly of pilgrims during an evening at Burghill Primary School (being used as accommodation).

At the end of the pilgrimage the organisers were presented, by students, with a collection items they would, forever, associate with the walk – egg shells, blister pads, talcum powder & scraps of dried toast – all placed in a margarine tub.

Later a reliquary was created and dedicated as being the relics of St Tambo – and blessed by Mervyn Charles-Edwards at the start of the 2nd pilgrimage in 1977.

By further miraculous happenchance they have survived:

As has the ancient manuscript describing the ‘Miraculous Interventions on behalf of the pilgrims by St Tambo contra diabolum’
Tambo story




1980: Bishop’s Castle to St David’s c.150 miles

St D report

St D 2

St D 3

1985: Bishop’s Castle to Eglwys y Groes, Mwnt

A castle building competition at Aberporth:


cas 3Cas 1

1986: The Tenth Anniversary – and possibly the longest

86 report

There has been music

There are songs which automatically fit – most famous is Bunyan’s Pilgrim Song from the journey of Christiana in the second part of Pilgrim’s Progress: ‘Who would true valour see’

And one song – adapted in 1986, has been used on many pilgrimages since: commonly known as ‘Wondrous Love’.

Here is an 1854 version (the tune is in the middle stave):

Wondrous Love 1854 S Harmony

The words written in 1986 are:


JM 3

The tune is from a well used  traditional melody and occurs in two nautical songs: Captain Kidd (hanged as a pirate) & Admiral Benbow (an Admiral from the late C17th born in Shrewsbury & possessed of an adventurous spirit that led to his untimely end)

The 2016 Route:

Between 13th & 17th April 2016 a walking pilgrimage from Bishop’s Castle to Hereford commemorated the original walk.

H route clipping

The route, included all the benefices in the Clun Deanery started north of Bishop’s Castle & passed through Clun (overnight on13th) , Bucknell, Leintwardine (overnight on 14th), Wigmore, Kingsland (overnight on 15th) & Canon Pyon (overnight on 16th).

The arrival included an informal celebratory finish.

A route with

  1. ‘views & insights’ into the physical, social, environmental & cultural heritage of the Middle March.
  2. day lengths that allow for explorations & reflective moments en route
  3. allowance for participation in short sections
  4. an unofficial start point north of Bishop’s Castle to include

– a Welsh element,

– the important physical variety of the local hills

– all Anglican benefices in Clun Forest Deanery

The final day had a morning walk arriving in Hereford for lunch, followed by Cathedral reception at 14.00

On arrival at Hereford Cathedral the pilgrimage was greeted by the Bishop of Hereford & Cathedral Dean.

The many pilgrimages since 1976 have each created what one pilgrim called a ‘temporary travelling community’. The April pilgrimage had self-catering, overnight accommodation in community halls & Kingsland Parish Church.


The Human Sculpted Landscape,

The pilgrimage route and daily and sectional distances were arranged to allow time for observe, reflect & absorb the manner in which people have reacted with the landscape. In particular, the way the hills in the northern section merge, through days 2 and 3 into the present intensely cultivated countryside of days 4 & 5. Apples, orchards and cider will be a major feature.

+44 1686 67 05 05




Wednesday : April 13th Day 1

Morning 3.75 miles: Hyssington Parish Church dep: 10.00

Bishop’s Castle arr: 12.30

Afternoon 7.2 miles: Bishop’s Castle Parish Church: dep 13.30

Clun High Town Community Centre arr: 17.30

1 A


2 A

Thursday: April14th Day 2

Morning 7.5 miles: Clun: dep: 09.00

Bucknell arr: 13.00

Afternoon 4.7 miles: Bucknell dep: 14.00

Leintwardine Community Centre arr: 17.00

3 A

Friday: April 15th Day 3

Morning 7.85 miles: Leintwardine Community Centre: dep: 09.30

Aymestry arr: 13.00

Afternoon 3.75 miles: Aymestry dep: 14.00

Kingsland Parish Church arr: 16.30

4 A

Saturday: April 16th Day 4

Morning 6.25 miles: Kingsland Parish Church: dep: 09.30

Middle Hill/Upper Hill (Westhope Hill) arr: 12.30

Afternoon 3.5 miles: Westhope Hill: dep 13.30

Canon Pyon Village Hall arr: 16.00


5 A

Sunday: April 17th Day 5

Morning 7 miles: Canon Pyon: dep: 09.00 (Huntington pass: 12.00)

Hereford High Town arr: 13.00

Afternoon: Hereford High Town: dep 13.45

Hereford Cathedral arr: 14.00

6 A

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