The program will focus on creating an environment for reflection in order to deepen your connection with God. This retreat is open to people of every demographic. A typical day will look like this:
Morning: Pilgrims usually rise shortly after daybreak to enjoy the crisp morning air. We will begin the day with a short facilitated meditation on the inspirational theme for the day followed by an orientation for the hike ahead. Breakfast will then be on your own, based on your own needs and desired departure time. The morning will be spent walking, with rests and lunch along the way.
Afternoon: After walking 4-6 hours (averaging 25 km each day), you will arrive at your overnight destination sometime in early to mid-afternoon. Everyone is permitted to walk at their own pace, with or without a companion. Afternoons will be spent showering, resting, journaling or doing laundry. Before dinner, you will have the opportunity to debrief the day with the group over drinks, if desired.
Evening: You may choose to eat dinner with our cohort, a smaller group, or on your own. Afterward, there will be an optional brief meditation before bedtime.
The program above describes a typical day and the opportunities that will be available to you. While we hope you will participate in some of the group sessions to enrich the experience of others, it is not required because we realize that every person’s pilgrimage is unique. Each person comes with different questions, hopes and needs. We want to respect and honor where each person is at. The intent of the program is to provide a basic rhythm that pilgrims can follow as desired.
|Day 1||Arrive at Rochester for orientation.|
|Day 2||Walk from Rochester to Thurnham following North Downs Way/Pilgrims’ Way (12 miles).|
|Day 3||Walk from Thurnham to Lenham, with optional detour to Leeds Castle (11 miles or 9 miles).|
|Day 4||Walk from from Lenham to Wye (11 miles).|
|Day 5||Walk from Wye to Canterbury (option of 13.5 or 8 mile route).|
|Day 6||Departure day|
Rochester to Canterbury on the Pilgrims’ Way
For travelers who don’t have two weeks to walk the length of the Pilgrims’ Way, this is one of the most popular sections which takes less than one week. Stretching 45 miles between the historic cities of Rochester and Canterbury, this journey will take you through the pastoral scenery and quaint villages of the North Downs and Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
This is a walk packed full of history and delightful local Kentish food. You begin in the historic cathedral city of Rochester on the River Medway, also famous as the home of Charles Dickens. On the journey you will pass Neolithic long barrows, the ruins of Norman castles and the option to detour to Leeds’s Castle, home to six Queens of England. On the last day the walk leaves the North Downs Way National Trail and explores Godmersham Park, where Jane Austen kept house for her brother Edward. This short route offers a delightful glimpse of Southern England and its rich history while on the trail to Canterbury.