What a year it’s been for Devon Pilgrim. Here’s a roundup of everything we’ve been up to.
Elaine from Dorset was one of the first pilgrims to complete The Archangel's Way. She was kind enough to talk to us about her experience of walking the route.
“When I heard about The Archangel’s Way, I was thrilled to have a new walk to follow on Dartmoor and new reasons to walk it. It is my first pilgrimage.”
Elaine is from Dorset, and has found herself being drawn in by Dartmoor’s ‘call of the wild’ for many a year. As one of the first pilgrims to complete The Archangel’s Way, we asked Elaine a few questions about her experiences which we hope will encourage you to follow in her footsteps (literally).
What was your overall experience of walking The Archangel’s Way?
“My overall experience of walking The Archangel’s Way is excellent.”
“I am very pleased I have completed it and it was good to walk Dartmoor for different reasons. Some of the route took me to places I would never have discovered without it. I met lovely people on the way and it was good to chat with them. Also the Pilgrim / Archangel’s Way tables at each church helped to make it an interactive experience.”
How familiar are you with Dartmoor?
“I have been walking Dartmoor regularly since 1994. In the summer of 2015 I decided to visit every tor in my book on Dartmoor Tors (which lists 283, with information about them) and every place mentioned in the book Dartmoor 365, which has at least one place in every square mile of Dartmoor. After that I decided to do various walks including the Dartmoor Way, which goes near the modern boundary of Dartmoor, and the Dartmoor Ancient Boundary Walk Perambulation, following the route of the boundary of the Dartmoor Forest from 1240. When I heard about The Archangel’s Way, I was thrilled to have a new walk to follow on Dartmoor and new reasons to walk it. It is my first pilgrimage.”
“Some of the route took me to places I would never have discovered without it.“
Did you discover anything new on your pilgrimage?
“Yes I did. There are various things to look out for as mentioned in the route guide, as well as the fun of discovering other things whilst out walking. There is so much to discover on Dartmoor, and we all encounter and appreciate different aspects of it.”
How did you find the step-by-step route guide?
“The route guide was brilliant. As I was pre-reading the guides, I could picture a lot of it in my mind as I have walked some of the paths before. I decided to opt for the more challenging ‘A’ routes, as they are across open moorland to places I have never visited before. Stage 1 has a very unique starting point from St Michael’s Church atop Brentor. It all worked out exactly as described in the route guide.”
The route guide includes step-by-step directions, some interesting information about the historical and cultural significance of the route, and your very own Pilgrim Passport to stamp as you visit each beautiful church.
How did walking The Archangel’s Way affect your mental and emotional wellbeing?
“I think walking The Archangel’s Way was great for me and I feel it is good for mental and emotional wellbeing. The sense of achievement at the end of each day was great. I walked one section in very windy and wet weather, so needed extra determination to keep going that day.”
Any encouragements to people interested in walking The Archangel’s Way?
“If you are interested in walking The Archangel’s Way, I would say definitely do it. It does not have to be walked on consecutive days or in any particular order, so feel free to take one stage at a time, whenever you have the time. One walker I met had divided the route very differently to me, and was walking each section in both directions. Make sure to check the Dartmoor firing times before walking stage 3 / 3A.”
Many thanks to Elaine for taking the time to speak to us. To the rest of you, click below to discover more about The Archangel’s Way.
Five of our churches on The Archangel's Way are part of the Small Pilgrim Places Network, a national group of unique, peaceful spiritual sites.
Right in the heart of Exeter resides the tiny church of St Pancras - a place of sanctuary amidst the noise and bustle of the Guildhall Shopping Centre.