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The Golden Valley Pilgrim Way

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walking through golden fields

A magical 60-mile circular trail along ancient paths, starting at Hereford Cathedral

  • Designed to nourish body, mind and soul
  • Bring your own beliefs (or none at all)
  • Takes in the Wye Valley, Golden Valley and foothills of the Black Mountain
  • Uniquely offers overnight sanctuary in medieval churches and the Cathedral cloisters
  • Try the full route, a shorter 30-mile loop or the cycle trail
  • Starts and ends in Hereford city, easily accessible by train

A wild, frugal, contemplative, spiritual experience.

Simon Lockett, Pioneer of the Golden Valley Pilgrim Way

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golden valley pilgrim way passport
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Dore Abbey
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Longtown Castle
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Inside small church
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walking through golden fields

About the Route

Bring your own beliefs (or none) on this stunning circular walking route which takes in ancient castle ruins, neolithic stones, a medieval abbey, holy well and some of the tiniest and most remote churches you will likely ever visit.

Pause for breaks at hidden farms which produce artisan cider and delicious ice cream, and soak up the shifting landscapes, from gentle wooded river valleys to dramatic mountain views. Spot wildlife as you walk in this beautifully tranquil countryside and contemplate the surrounding silence.

A beautifully illustrated pilgrim credential (passport), designed by Corin Burgess,  can be purchased and stamped in each church. 

 

Night Sanctuary

The Golden Valley Pilgrim Way is the only pilgrim path in Britain offering overnight stays. Walkers are offered night sanctuary in the cloisters of Hereford Cathedral - thought to be the first time that pilgrims have been able to stay in Anglican cathedral precincts since Medieval times. And you can also stay in seven medieval churches, with a further two churches offering accommodation in a church hall and bell tent.

Advance booking is required, for details contact abbeydoremc@gmail.com. A donation of £20 per person is requested for each overnight, payable at the time of booking. Reduced fees are offered to larger parties. The churches are all  - bar one - sited in villages with excellent country pubs, with nearby local stores for stocking up on packed lunch provisions. 

 

Explore the Pilgrim Way

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Dore Abbey

6 to 7 Day Walking Pilgrimage

The full 60-mile trail features sacred sites, crumbling castles, holy wells and Arthurian legends, Hike this serene, untouched landscape, exploring the contrast between gentle wooded river valleys and stunning mountain views. See Route Map.

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Arthur's stone

3 to 4 Day Walking Pilgrimage

A shorter 30-mile route which offers peaceful walking and special places, from remote churches to Neolithic stones which predate Stonehenge by a millennium. Breathe in the tranquil atmosphere of the wild and magical Golden Valley. See Route Map.

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View of Black Mountains

5 Day Cycling Pilgrimage

A stunning circular 82-mile cycle route which takes in sacred sites, ancient castle ruins and holy wells. With refreshments at farm shops and country pubs as well as the chance to visit artisan cider makers.

Guided & Self Guided Options

Self Guided

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Vowchurch

The Golden Valley Pilgrim Way is made available as a self-guided walk for any individual or group wishing to traverse our untamed landscapes, uncover ancient stories and discover more about themselves along the way. Collective, silent walking can be a wonderful experience, as too is the chance to share a meditative practice within nature.

Guided Walk: Day Experiences

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looking at the fields near arthur's stone

Join experienced guide Sarah Price of Walk Hay and explore sections of the Golden Valley Pilgrim Way. With options to either attend a group walking event or to design a bespoke experience, which can include overnight stays.

Guided Walk: 4 to 7 Day Experiences

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walking path

Simon Lockett, the originator of the Golden Valley Pilgrim Way, runs guided walking breaks. Explore this rich landscape with around a dozen companion pilgrims, of all and no faiths. Simon brings to life the ancient and holy places through song, story and folklore as well as poems, blessings and readings. With occasional stretches of silence and barefoot walking, plus optional wild swimming. Bookable via the British Pilgrimage Trust.

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Sarah Price, Walk Hay at Longtown Castle

Highlights of the Golden Valley Pilgrim Way

Sarah Price from Walk Hay shares two of her favourite sections from the route.

Read article
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Golden Valley Pilgrim Way

Planning your Trip

If you are walking the route in one go then arriving in Hereford by train is a great option.

If you are planning to walk a section then take a look at public transport. The remoteness of the valley means that services are limited so it's best to plan your trip around available buses. They run to Madley and to Dorstone, Peterchurch, Kingstone and Ewyas Harold villages from Hereford. See Herefordshire Council's bus services for more info. 

Alternatively, if you have access to a couple of cars then consider parking one at the end before you start. There is limited parking at many of the churches, so we always encourage lift-sharing as well as responsible parking.