A Taste of the Pilgrims' Way

A small band of pilgrims from the Cathedral and from the Confraternity of Saint James enjoyed the glorious autumn sunshine in a walk out from Shooters Hill to Erith.

With a last glimpse of the city from the Hill they followed the Green Chain Walk past Plumstead Cemetery and through ancient Bostall and Lesnes Abbey Woods.

Among the ruins of the ancient abbey, founded in 1178 as penance for the murder of Thomas Becket in Canterbury, they enjoyed the newly formed monastic herb garden and views back to London. After lunch the pilgrims continued along Leather Bottle Lane to Frank’s Park, through a long wooded tunnel dappled with golden sunlight, to arrive in Erith.

Here the great surprise was the expanse of lower reaches of the river Thames at low tide and the gradual deterioration of London’s once thriving maritime industries. The walk ended at a plaque noting the existence of an ancient ferry, run by the monks of Lesnes, taking pilgrims across the river either from Essex heading for Canterbury or towards Walsingham in the opposite direction.