New pilgrimage route takes major step forward

Published Thursday, 4th July 2019

A regional conference has been held in Hartlepool to discuss exciting plans to create a new pilgrimage trail linking Hartlepool with Whitby.

It comes as Hartlepool Borough Council has been working with partner authorities and agencies to attract funding to create The Way of St Hild – which is due to open in spring 2020.

The route will celebrate the importance of Hild to both Hartlepool and Whitby and recognise the contribution she made to the Christian heritage of the North East and further afield.

However, unlike many pilgrimage trails, The Way of St Hild will not rely solely on maps and booklets as the primary source of assistance for walkers, instead it will feature 12 augmented reality stations.

Way of St Hild consultation event

The pilgrimage route – made possible thanks to funding from the Rural Payments Agency – will be 48 miles in length and will directly link with another Way that celebrates St Hild – St Hilda’s Way. That route is approximately 40 miles long and will meet the new route at both Staithes and Whitby.

Gill Alexander, Chief Executive of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “It was fantastic to host a consultation conference at the National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool for partner organisations to be able to find out more about the new pilgrimage trail and explore how we can fully harness its potential.

“In particular, we used the event to discuss how the interpretation of the augmented reality stations along the route can effectively encompass what The Way of St Hild means and signpost pilgrims and walkers to churches and places of interest along the route.

“There is an increasing growth in the popularity of long distance walks nationally and The Way of St Hill will sit alongside the likes of St. Oswald's Way and St Cuthbert's Way.”

Way of St Hild

Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, Chair of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Regeneration Services Committee, said: “The Way of St Hild – which will use existing public rights of way and established National Trails – offers an innovative way for us to celebrate the life and times of St Hild, an early Christian and spiritual leader who ran the Monastery at Hartlepool and founded the internationally renowned Monastery at Whitby.

“We were particularly delighted the Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, Dean Emeritus of Durham Cathedral, agreed to contribute to the event and shares our excitement about its huge potential.”

The Way will also be supported through a booklet, way marking discs and further downloadable information.

You can read the Very Reverend Michael’s Sadgrove’s address about The Way of St Hild by clicking here.