Recent decades have seen an explosion of pilgrimage in Europe and around the world. While the revival of walking the Camino to the shrine of St James at Santiago de Compostela has achieved global popularity, old and new pilgrimage routes are being discovered across Europe. For some pilgrims the motivation is still primarily religious, but for many others it is about reconnecting with nature and history, or a desire to take time out and reflect on life and seek greater connection.
Largely forgotten outside the religious community, The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in North Norfolk is among the oldest shrines in the world, dating to 1061. In the Middle Ages it surpassed even the Canterbury shrine of St Thomas a Becket in popularity. Today, Little Walsingham is a beautiful medieval village with two active shrines, Anglican and Roman Catholic, and the ruins of the original priory church.
Pilgrims once arrived in Walsingham from all over Europe and a network of Walsingham Ways once crossed Norfolk converging on the Shrine. The Peddar’s Way was the London – Walsingham route and is a well established long distance walk. The Walsingham Way project aims to re-establish a network of pilgrimage routes across Norfolk to encourage walking pilgrimage and sustainable tourism.