St Boniface Way
Throughout the pilgrimage route flow the interconnected themes of prayer, work and study. St Boniface 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 farm land. Study is represented by the University 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, your pilgrimage will take you across fields, along river banks and through farmland. You 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 you visit each of the churches along St Boniface Way, you 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 you to experience this pilgrimage at your own pace. Take one section at a time or do it over a day or two – however you approach it, St Boniface Way is an opportunity to slow the pace, to pause and refocus away from the busyness of daily life.
The interactive map below is in development, and should be used for illustrative purposes only. For detailed maps download and print the OS Maps for each stage, or download the GPX file at the bottom of this page to import the route into your favourite navigation app.
Stage 1: Crediton to Shobrooke
Leaving the Church of the Holy Cross, you will walk across fields and through a majestic avenue of lime trees. Stunning views across lakes and woods to Dartmoor await as you begin your pilgrimage in the way of St Boniface.
Stage 2: Shobrooke to Newton St Cyres
From the ancient village of Shobrooke, your path takes you past the Holy Well and into the beautiful Devon countryside on the way to Newton St Cyres. Thatched cottages, the pretty station and the stunning Church of St Cyr and St Julitta await at the end of your journey – along with the possibility of a great pub lunch!
Stage 3: Newton St Cyres to Upton Pyne
Starting with a riverside walk that joins the Devonshire Heartland Way, this section passes through a historic farming community that is still important today. From the chocolate-box village of Newton St Cyres, through Jane Austen inspiring countryside, this beautiful section allows space away from the busyness of daily life to reflect on work, in whatever form that takes for you.
Stage 4: Upton Pyne to Mary Harris Chapel, Exeter University
Fields, rivers and railway lead you out of rural Devon into the outskirts of the city, and on to the Mary Harris Chapel at the University of Exeter. As the rhythm of life changes, so does the focus of our pilgrimage, from prayer and work to study. The Chapel ceiling is stunning and should not be missed.
A shorter route is available under Stage 4A: Upton Pyne to Exeter University (Cowley Bridge route).
Stage 4A: Upton Pyne to Exeter University (Cowley Bridge route)
This alternative to Stage 4 is a shorter route, but involves crossing Cowley Bridge and more time walking by roads. It is therefore less suitable for those walking with children or dogs.
PLEASE NOTE – THIS SECTION INCLUDES CROSSING COWLEY BRIDGE WHERE THERE IS A SHORT SECTION WITH NO FOOTPATH. CARE MUST BE TAKEN AND Hi-Vis IS RECOMMENDED.
Stage 5: Mary Harris Chapel, Exeter University to Exeter Cathedral
The final section of St Boniface way makes the journey from the University Chapel to Exeter Cathedral. The route passes through Bury Meadow Park, a great place to rest or have a picnic. Then walk the length of Queen Street as the surroundings change again, from residential to commercial, before emerging onto the Cathedral Green and ultimately into the Cathedral – a place of tranquillity and reflection in the midst of the bustling city.
You are invited to join Choral Evensong or other daily services, the schedule of which can be found on the Cathedral website.
The site has mid-19th-century garden features of some 6.5 hectares, set within a park and woodland of 73 hectares, now largely returned to grazing and agriculture. The gardens have occasional open days.
Shobrooke Holy Well
The Holy Well at Shobrooke was first mentioned in parish records in 1576 and was restored in 1925. It is dressed during the year by people from St Swithun's Church in Spring and at Harvest. You will quite frequently see flowers left there or ribbons tied to its gate.
Located to the north of Exeter, Stoke Woods is a great place to have a break from city life and get in touch with nature. Stretch your legs on our wild trails and visit some of the oldest and largest trees in Exeter.
The Beer Engine
The Beer Engine, is on the route, near Newton St Cyres Station on the Exeter-Barnstaple Tarka Line. It is one of Devon’s oldest brew pubs, serving award winning beers, a good selection of interesting bar snacks and a seasonal menu.
A restaurant in the centre of Newton St Cyres village, serves traditional Italian food including pizzas from its pizza oven. It has a range of menus – lunch, main, desert and coffee, or takeaway. It is best to book in advance.
Church of the Holy Cross, Crediton
Open 9am – 4.30pm daily: Visit the church with a fascinating 1100+ year history. In the early 10th century, Crediton was chosen as the cathedral for Devon and Cornwall (built c. 910 AD). Like many Saxon cathedrals it was almost certainly of wooden construction, but no evidence of it remains.
St Swithun’s Church, Shobrooke
Open 9am – 6pm daily: St Swithun’s is the oldest structure in the village of Shobrooke and is of Anglo-Saxon origin. The church was rebuilt in the 15th century when a north aisle was added, which was further restored in c. 1840 and 1879.
Church of St Cyr and St Julitta, Newton St Cyres
Open 10am – 4pm daily (except Friday): The Church of St Cyr and Julitta stands on a small hillside overlooking the village of Newton St Cyres. It is dedicated to St Cyr and his mother Julitta of Iconium (Asia Minor, modern day Turkey), who was martyred at Tarsus in the Diocletian persecution of 305 AD.
Church of our Lady, Upton Pyne
Open 8.30am – 5pm, Thursday to Saturday (access can be requested for other days by contacting the email address below): The Church of Our Lady is at the heart of Upton Pyne village (the setting of Jane Austen’s novel, “Sense and Sensibility”), just a few miles outside of Exeter.
Mary Harris Chapel, Exeter University
Open 8am – 10pm daily: The Mary Harris Memorial Chapel of the Holy Trinity within the University of Exeter was designed and presented to the University by Dr E. Vincent Harris, OBE, in memory of his mother, was consecrated by the Lord Bishop of Exeter on 26 June 1958.
Check the Cathedral’s website for opening hours and events: Exeter Cathedral is one of the great cathedrals of England, and one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture anywhere. It boasts the longest continuous medieval stone vault in the world, stretching 96m (315ft) across the nave. The Cathedral is the spiritual home for a wide […]