The Royal Saxon Way is our new pilgrimage route linking Folkestone to Minster-in-Thanet via Lyminge and the Elham Valley. It celebrates the Anglo-Saxon queens and princesses who founded and ran as abbesses some of the churches along the route. You can read more here, and discover more about this little-known aspect of Anglo-Saxon society which is so crucial to understanding the site we have been digging in Lyminge over the past two months.
We began our inaugural walk at St Mary and St Eanswythe, Folkestone. St Eanswythe was the niece of Queen Ethelburga who we believe founded the church at Lyminge. On this first day, we were led by Archdeacon Darren Miller.
The first leg of the journey was along the sea front to Sandgate. It was perfect for walking.
We walked past Sandgate Castle and then headed to St Paul’s church for our first pre-arranged stop. This was the first of some impressive hospitality during the day.
From St Paul’s, we walked up the Enbrook Valley, past Shorncliffe Camp and then down into the valley beyond to St Martin’s where we had lunch.
St Martin’s still contains one wall that is believed to be largely Anglo-Saxon in origin.
Refreshed after lunch, we were ready for anything and still enthusiastic to keep walking.
We headed across St Martin’s Plain to Dibgate Camp, down into the Seabrook Valley, then across the motorway and railway lines to St Nicholas’ at Newington where there was more tea! There were also cold drinks. It was a hot day by this stage.
The final leg of the route took us along the line of the disused Elham Valley Railway to Tolsford Hill with magnificent views towards France. We were able to look back over the whole route we had covered.
From the hill we headed down into Lyminge for a magnificent spread laid on at the church. It was a super walk of 9 miles in lovely conditions. Many of our walkers were completely surprised at how close the countryside comes into Folkestone. Why not try it for yourself?
If you would like to see more pictures of the route and download maps so that you can do the walk yourself, you can find more information here.
Keep following the blog to see how we get on over the next three days as we continue on to Minster-in-Thanet for evensong on Sunday.