A DAY of events to celebrate the official launch of Devon Pilgrim’s St Boniface Way route will begin in Crediton on Saturday, October 23.

Throughout the pilgrimage route flow the interconnected themes of prayer, work and study.

St Boniface, who was born Wynfrith in Crediton, would have been familiar with these as they formed the rhythms of his life as a Benedictine monk. Prayer is reflected in the churches visited en route and also by the inclination of the pilgrim as they undertake the pilgrimage.

Along the route, the pilgrim will reflect on work especially as they journey past working farmland. Study is represented by the University of Exeter chapel and in the heart of the pilgrim as they grow in their understanding of God.

St Boniface Way begins at the birthplace of its namesake in Crediton.

From Crediton, the pilgrimage will go across fields, along river banks and through farmland.

Those undertaking the journey will visit chocolate-box villages and countryside that inspired Jane Austen, before leaving the rural behind and entering Exeter via the University.

However, even in the city, St Boniface Way will provide green spaces and places of reflection.

At the end of the journey lies Exeter Cathedral and the invitation to join a service of Evensong.

As those taking part visit each of the churches along St Boniface Way, they will find welcome and a space to pray, to reflect and to encounter God.

St Boniface Way has been broken down into short sections, allowing those taking part to experience this pilgrimage at their own pace.

It is possible to take one section at a time or do it over a day or two – however approached, St Boniface Way is an opportunity to slow the pace, to pause and refocus away from the busyness of daily life.

Route cards and reflections can be downloaded for individual stages.


Launch of St Boniface Pilgrim Way: the launch will begin at Holy Cross with tea/coffee served from 9.30am.

At 10am there will be a short act of worship, a talk by John Hargreaves from A Rocha UK and the blessing of the pilgrims before they set out for Shobrooke. Arriving at around 11.45am, the Holy Well will be dressed followed by a picnic lunch (bring your own) in St Swithun’s churchyard.

There will be an opportunity for a short guided meditation.

Those attending will also be invited to join the community as they plant 300 crocus bulbs with LiveWest (please take along bulb planting tools if you have them).

Then the guided walk will move on to Newton St Cyres Church (St Julitta’s) for a family event incorporating the blessing of the route, treasure hunt, wild foraging and tea/cakes.

The day ends with Compline in the Cathedral at 5.30pm when the Dean, Very Rev Jonathan Greener, will give a talk (6.30pm) about pilgrims, pilgrimage followed by drinks and nibbles.


The St Boniface Way is one of a number of new pilgrimage routes linking Devon’s historic churches and ancient holy sites are part of a new project that launched at the Devon County Show in July.

Devon Pilgrim aims to offer all the inspiration and information people need to “take a journey of the heart”.

It has been created by the Diocese of Exeter’s Growing the Rural Church team, working with churches and other volunteers across the region.

Sarah Cracknell, the Growing the Rural Church Project Manager, said: “Devon Pilgrim provides routes across Devon where people can safely walk, following clear directions, so they can focus on the purpose of the journey rather than needing to find their way.

“Pilgrimage is having a resurgence, whether it is the Celtic idea of the inner journey or the medieval tradition of travelling to a specific place to seek help or ask for direction.

“Both of those are still current. People do look for direction in times of need or to understand the purpose of their life.

“We also have a greater awareness now of our own wellbeing.”


Helping launch Devon Pilgrim at the Devon County Show was the Rev Paul Seaton Burn, Team Vicar of St Michael’s, Chagford, which marks the end of the Archangel’s Way.

He said: “Pilgrims come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and these routes are for everyone.

“Not only do they invite people of all faiths and none to reconnect with this ancient landscape and their own bodies, but they are also opportunities to gain perspective and understand ourselves in a deeper way.

“Supporting local businesses across Devon is another reason why this is a brilliant project, as well as bringing all sorts of people together to offer hospitality and share stories with visitors and locals alike.”

Each pilgrimage is divided into sections which starts and ends at a church, so they can be walked in one go over several days or in shorter segments.

The churches all have a “pilgrim corner” with prayers and meditations for people to engage with and a pilgrim stamp for walkers to mark their progress in specially designed Pilgrim Passports.

The Bishop of Exeter, the Right Reverend Robert Atwell, said: “We associate pilgrimage with the medieval world but in our generation, we have rediscovered its grace.

“People of all backgrounds are walking the ancient paths and, in so doing, entering upon a journey of the heart.

“Many of them are discovering that God walks with them in their life.”

There are plans to develop more Devon Pilgrim routes as time goes on and showcase existing pilgrimage routes in the county.

“This is a chance for churches along the routes to offer a Christian perspective on pilgrimage,” Sarah Cracknell said.

“People might not want to go to traditional Sunday services but maybe a guided pilgrimage walk, a meditation and some gentle introduction to prayer, is actually what they are seeking.”

For more information about the St Boniface Way or to register your interest in the launch day, please visit: www.devonpilgrim.org.uk/events or email: [email protected] or telephone 07399937732.