I’ve been on the trail of a saint this week.
Werburgh is the known as the Patron Saint of Chester; her feast will be celebrated at the city’s Cathedral on February 3.
The journey of Werburgh from a noble Staffordshire family to sainthood also provides the narrative backdrop to the Two Saints Way, a newly opened long-distance walking trail through the rural heart of England.
The trail recreates the ancient pilgrimage route between Lichfield and Chester Cathedrals via Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent. The name refers to St Werburgh and St Chad, two Saxon saints who brought Christianity to the ancient kingdom of Mercia (the modern-day Midlands) in the 7th century.
These trails are increasingly popular again today with latter-day pilgrims seeking spiritual connections on a long-distance hike.
“The pilgrimage has become a contemporary quest for ancient wisdom. It encapsulates what life is about, namely going on a journey,” says David Pott, who devised the Two Saints Way and is walking with me on the trail.
“In the contemporary context, it’s about asking questions and seeking answers. But modern pilgrims seek to do so in mind, body and soul,” he adds.
Read more about St Werburgh in the February issue of Discover Britain magazine.
Read my Walk in Depth piece from Walk, the Ramblers’ magazine.
This story traces the other leg of the trail, focusing on the journey of St Chad.
More about the project from the Two Saints Way website.