The Eastbourne Pilgrimage Project

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The aim of this project is to encourage the art of walking through our wonderful local landscape with the intention of appreciating, and benefiting from, the spirituality within its culture, heritage, architecture, and natural features.

We aim to discover old pilgrimage routes that connect with Eastbourne and to develop new local pilgrimage routes. We also hope to integrate pilgrimage activities within the yearly Eastbourne Walking Festival.

As a contribution to this year’s walking festival, the British Pilgrimage Trust came up with a unique offer for Eastbourne residents:

“The Eastbourne Downland Estate extends for well over 4,000 acres, and is an iconic section of Downland rich with ecology and culture. The estate was conserved from the over-development of the South Downs in 1929, when the land was bought by Eastbourne Borough Council, to be looked after for the public benefit. The Borough’s custodianship, in collaboration with the South Downs National Park Authority, means that sites of Special Scientific Interest, Plant Important Areas, the Estate’s Heritage Coastline, and many other important areas, are all protected from development.

It is with great pleasure that the British Pilgrimage Trust are collaborating with the Eastbourne Walking Festival to introduce more Eastbourne locals to a new pilgrimage route that travels through this incredible Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty: the Old Way. This pilgrimage route begins in Southampton and ends in Canterbury, and winds through 250 miles of England’s most idyllic landscapes – including the Eastbourne Downland Estate.

The route was discovered by the BPT’s co-founder William Parsons while researching the oldest road map in Britain: the Gough Map, c. 1360. The Trust has used a red line that runs between Southampton and Canterbury on the map as an opportunity to create a new pilgrimage route with ancient roots (and boots!), taking in as much of the beautiful South East countryside – and particularly its Downland – as possible. Section 22 and Section 22A of the Old Way pilgrimage route travel through the Eastbourne Downland Estate.

Eastbourne locals can now access the BPT’s online guide to the route for free, by emailing: info@britishpilgrimage.org

Use the subject title ‘Eastbourne Local’ in your email, and the Trust will organise free online access to the Old Way Online Guide, which includes:

  • Navigation Guidance
  • Accomodation, Food and Transport Listings
  • Holy Place suggestions (for the BPT, a holy place is anywhere that any pilgrim might find resonance, from a beautiful old tree, to an ancient church, river source, or hilltop)
  • Alternative routes
  • Route Overviews

The British Pilgrimage Trust was set up in 2014 to advance British pilgrimage as a form of cultural heritage that promotes holistic wellbeing for the public benefit. The charity continues to work to make pilgrimage a practice that is open and accessible to all, welcoming of all religious beliefs and none. For the BPT, pilgrimage is for everyone, and provides an opportunity to connect with yourself, others, nature and everything beyond. To turn a walk into a pilgrimage, simply set an intention at your journey’s beginning: dedicate your journey to something you want help with, or for which you want to give thanks.

The BPT is excited to receive feedback about the Old Way route from Eastbourne locals, and sees the route as a collaborative project that will expand and develop as more pilgrims (like you!) walk it. The more communities engage with the route, the more knowledge, experience and local understanding can inform the project’s development.

Contact info@britishpilgrimage.org to gain free access to the Old Way Online Guide!”

For introductory information about the Old Way, go to: https://britishpilgrimage.org/old-way/

To keep up to date with the development of the Eastbourne Pilgrimage Project, go to its Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Eastbourne-Pilgrimage-Project-106121971288218

To contact the Eastbourne Pilgrimage Trust, email: eastbournepilgrim@gmail.com