This page is a celebration of places in Britain that are well worth visiting.
Thomas Hardy's Dorset
In Search of Pixies Holt, Dartmoor
High Cup Nick
Heydon Village, Norfolk
One - Glastonbury
In July, we made the pilgrimage to Glastonbury. I hadn’t been there for several years, though once upon a time, mostly during the 1980s, I spent a great deal of time there. Like most towns there are the goods and the bads. I think there are now just too many New Age shops; there used to be much more diversity, now almost every shop seems to be New Age. There is a mystical element to the Isle of Avalon, but it now seems to be far too commercialised, as though the mysticism serves the commerce and not the other way round. And the traffic was much worse than I remembered. Well, those are the bads, now let us look at the goods.
We walked around the Abbey ruins, still a place of spirituality and a haven for wildlife. I like the sett for the badgers, the areas left for wildlife and the ponds, with their fish and wildfowl. If anyone wants to see a hallmark in how wildlife can be protected in a tourist site, then visit Glastonbury Abbey. Bees – one of my favourite of all creatures – had occupied a hollow in a tree, setting out to gather the nectar from the many lovely plants in the grounds and neighbouring gardens. It is not difficult to picture what an oasis this abbey must have been from the world, though not entirely, given the political machinations that led to its downfall and the execution of Abbot Whiting on Glastonbury Tor.
The gardens around the Chalice Well had changed least since my last visit. The Chalybeate waters of the well, feel as though they are doing you good as they trip down the throat. The gardens are a haven of peace, a retreat from the noisy chaos of this hateful 21st century. The weather was beautiful, a clear blue sky over Glastonbury Tor. Not like this world at all. Whether this really is the last resting place of the Grail symbol, or just the Chalkwell, to give it its older name is not really relevant. It is a tranquil escape from materialism.
The Tor was quite crowded, not surprising as it was a beautiful day with good clear view towards the Mendips and over the Somerset Levels. In past times I walked the Tor in all weathers and at night, once threaded its maze in an expedition that culminated in a terrific thunderstorm, but I have seldom seen a clearer view.
It really does feel as though you can reach up and touch the heavens. Like all summits it was sad to leave. It is one of the grandest landmarks in Britain and you have missed something in life if you haven’t been there in all winds and weathers.
Most walkers these days are probably not spiritually inclined, but we, in England in particular, are walking though a landscape that was mostly created by people who held the land around them to be sacred, whether that be the prehistory generations who created the stone circles and henges, or the later Christians who built the abbey, parish churches, or tramped out the pilgrim routes, and left wayside crosses. Ramblers today should understand how these marks on the land got there. Otherwise they are missing a great deal of the interest of the countryside they are walking through. Be it myth or history, there is a story in every acre under the English sky.
One of the greatest joys of rambling is to walk in the footsteps of those who have travelled before. It is why I believe so passionately in preserving where possible the original lines of rights of way. Walking though our history, reaching out and touching the land, tells us where we are coming from, and might just help us to find out where we should be going.
Two - A Trip to Wells
It had been over twenty years since I was last in Wells, before we went again the other day. I was pleased to see that so little had changed, indeed the pedestrianisation of the city centre had walking through this architectural gem much more enjoyable.
The west front of the cathedral never fails to impress. The effect it must have had on the medieval mind, when its sculptures would have been rich in colour, is incalculable. It is hard to get into that Middle Ages mindset, but it becomes easier as you walk around Wells. Wonderful though the west front is, it is not my favourite view of the cathedral. I prefer to see its great towers from the gardens of the Bishop’s Palace.
For 800 years the Palace has been the home to the Bishops of Bath and Wells, delightfully situated where the smallest city in England meets the Somerset countryside. Here are the wells which give the city its name. The gardens and arboretum are so restful; lucky are the allotment holders whose grounds border this enchanting spot.
It was pleasing to see inside the Palace the portrait of Harry Patch, who died last year, the last soldier to serve in the trenches in the Great War. A grand old man, the last link to all those millions who served and are gone. It made me think of my great-uncle Harry Howl Jeffs, who was killed in action in October 1918, just a couple of weeks before the Armistice. These two men, both called Harry, saw sights we cannot imagine. One died young, one lived to a very great age. Now both are gone and we are poorer in our appreciation of history in no longer having any living connection with the brave men who served on the Western Front. Walking around a cathedral city on a peaceful day it is hard to think of the horror of it all.
Three - Thomas Hardy's Dorset
I think it is no secret that Dorset is my favourite county in the south of England. At the end of last month we made our way to Dorchester, and walked the paths of Bockhampton to visit Thomas Hardy’s birthplace, in the last few days before the cottage closed for its winter break.
I hadn’t been to the Hardy cottage for several years, and it is even longer since I last walked the nearby remnants of the once mighty Egdon Heath. If you haven’t explored the area then please do go, though the cottage is now closed until Easter (though why the National Trust couldn’t keep it open at least at weekends is beyond me.)
Our visit was on a beautiful autumn day, the colours of the woodland surrounding the cottage were absolutely beautiful. What is marvellous about the Hardy birthplace is that you have to walk to get there, either up a pleasant country lane or along a woodland path. This keeps the immediate policies of the cottage free of cars.
A fire was burning in the old parlour, the smell of the woodsmoke drifting across the beautiful garden created by Hermann Lea, the writer who occupied the cottage in the last century, and the discoverer in his own books of many of the settings for Hardy’s fiction. The cottage is very small, but to me the most evocative part is Hardy’s own bedroom, where he would sit on the window ledge penning his early books, such as Under the Greenwood Tree and Far From the Madding Crowd.
I still enjoy Hardy’s novels, though it is the poetry I admire most – Hardy is one of the most beautiful poets in the English language. I have often walked in Hardy’s footsteps, and the footsteps of his characters. One long day, many years ago, I followed the route taken by Tess to see the Clare family in Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Several times I have walked across Dorset and Somerset, using as my guide the places mentioned in Hardy’s long poem The Trampwoman’s Tragedy – both wonderful expeditions for ramblers.
From Hardy’s birthplace, we made our way to Stinsford churchyard, the Mellstock of Under the Greenwood Tree, where Hardy’s father once played music in the gallery over the door. This is where Hardy’s heart is buried, just along from the grave of a Poet Laureate, Cecil Day Lewis.
Our literature can be a good inspiration for country rambles. Despite the ugliness of new developments, such as Prince Charles’ dreadful Poundbury (has the man no taste?) and the building of new and surely unnecessary dual-carriageways, Dorset remains relatively unspoiled and good for walking.
I hope it remains so.
Four - In Search of Pixies Holt, Dartmoor
In my talks with Dartmoor walkers I am always surprised at how few have ever been to Pixies Holt. Many confuse it with the education adventure centre on the hill out of Dartmeet, which bears the same name and in truth the legendary lair of the little folk of Dartmoor is not very far away.
I suspect that one difficulty is finding the cave in the first place. It took me a long afternoon of searching to locate the Holt, when I first looked in the 1970s.
It was a hot and balmy day and I tramped up and down the hillside above the Dart for a good few hours without success. Then I dug William Crossing’s Guide to Dartmoor out of my rucksack and scanned it for a clue. In an almost throwaway line the great Crossing points out that “an old track is carried from this (St Raphael’s Chapel) to Week Ford at Wo Brook Foot. By following this the Piskies Holt may be reached”.
Well, that was what I had done. So far, so good. Then I noticed the bit I had overlooked: “It is marked by four sycamores”. The problem was there were lots of trees in the vicinity and a fair few sycamores.
In the end I came upon the cave quite unexpectedly, and it was much nearer to Dartmeet than I had envisaged, and a trifle further away from the river. But it was quite a cave. I knelt down to crawl inside and then found I could stand up. Furthermore, it was good and dry inside and curiously light. Others had already found their way here, for tucked into one wall were a fair number of silver coins and silver pins, no doubt deposited to propitiate the little fellows. It was a long cave and there was a further ‘emergency escape’ entrance at the far end through which I climbed up to the surface.
I dug once more into my rucksack and brought out my copy of Crossing’s Tales of the Dartmoor Pixies (in the admirable Frank Graham reprint of 1968). Here was a lavish description of what I had just seen and I cannot better William Crossing’s description:
“It is a long narrow passage formed by large slabs of granite resting on two natural walls of the same. It is curved in form and extends for a distance of thirty-seven feet. Its width is about four feet, and it is of sufficient height for a man to stand upright in it. The entrance, which is but two-and-a-half feet in height is at the eastern end, and at the other extremity is a small aperture through which it is possible to climb out of the cave. The floor is covered with decayed leaves, blown in by the wind”.
Having exited from the far end I went back to the main entrance and crawled inside once more. The leaves on the floor had shown no signs of disturbance on my first exploration, but clearly someone had been in very recently, for a brand new five pence had fallen down from the wall. In fact there were several pounds worth of silver coins and around a hundred pins lining the wall. Clearly someone had great faith in Piskies.
I dwelt for a while on the phenomenon of Dartmoor Piskies. In fact they have a number of other supposed lairs on Dartmoor, not least the famous cave on Sheepstor. Tales of their antics abound and I commend William Crossing’s volumes or Ruth St Leger Gordon’s Witchcraft and Folklore of Dartmoor, if you wish to delve further into the subject. I might as well say here that I have never personally seen a Dartmoor Pisky, though I have observed a lot of odd things on Dartmoor and had several weird experiences. Years ago, I used to know a Dartmoor vicar who often walked northern Dartmoor. He assured me in all seriousness that he had often witnessed pisky activity in the more lonesome stretches of his parish. He told me of a number of instances when he had had a close up view. Whether I believed him or not is hardly the point. He clearly believed in what he was saying.
In those days I used to spend a great many nights on Dartmoor, bivvying amidst whatever shelter I could find. It seemed to me that the Pixies Holt would make an admirable halfway point for long expeditions across the Moor. I tried it out a week or two later. After a hot day’s walking and a dip in the Dart, I crawled inside for the night. It was a peaceful and restful experience. And I didn’t see a single pisky – despite the couple of pints I had enjoyed at the Forest Inn on my journey. What I do recall feeling was a wonderful sense of security, as though I had a force field wrapped around me. I used the Holt as one of my Dartmoor bedrooms on many occasions after that.
I have to confess that I haven’t been to the Pixies Holt now for many years. I hope it is the same and unspoiled and that other visitors have left silver coins and pins to keep the Piskies happy. If you do visit please treat their home with respect and leave a silvery tribute. You never know – they might be watching you!
Five - Lustleigh Cleave
It is a place full of memories for me. I first sought out the Cleave over forty years ago. A pal and I caught the bus from Newton Abbot to Lustleigh village. Mapless, we walked up and down paths but never quite seemed to get there. But in time I got to know the area really well. It has changed in those forty years. The sides of the Cleave are now far more wooded – in my youth there were bare slopes falling down to the tumbling river. I was pleased to see that someone was making an effort to tackle the scrub and bracken.
We walked through the orchard at Lustleigh, the trees wrapped with the last of the mistletoe, then through those fields of great boulders that are such a feature of the district. At Sharpitor, we sought out the cave under a huge rock just below the summit. Many years ago, I used to sleep there, my camp fire sending seemingly prehistoric shadows around the surrounding granite.
The path along the edge of the Cleave is a really pleasant mile of walking, though the clouds denied us the grand views. Only as we passed the enclosure and fort near to Hunter’s Tor did the cloud give way, the cold breeze easing as we descended to Peck Farm. Then on to Foxworthy, along what is clearly a very ancient trackway. Though mid-morning we heard a tawny owl cry the valley.
Foxworthy itself a hamlet far away from the world, I always think. It has changed somewhat since I first knew it. It all looked a bit more modern, though the yell of the swift-flowing river is just the same.
We returned along the path that climbs gradually above Foxes Yard, and then through the hamlet of Pethybridge, and back to Lustleigh. We explored the church, with its 6th century memorial stone to a long-dead landholder, and seeing the memorial to the statesman Leo Amery, who, amidst his other accomplishments, was a renowned hillwalker and climber.
We used to hold ramblers’ meetings in the old church hall, though few of those who participated are alive today. But the memories of old friends who once walked in ancient sunlight are still vivid.
If you would like to really get to know the area around Lustleigh Cleave, then please do seek out William Crossing’s Guide to Dartmoor. First published in 1909, and still the best guide to the neighbourhood. Do all of the walks in it and you will get to know Dartmoor very well indeed!
Six - High Cup Nick
High Cup Nick is a symbol of the wild and untamed nature of the northern hills, a massive gash that makes any wandering humans seem irrelevant in scale. This incredible place is very familiar to anyone who has walked the higher stretches of the Pennine Way, for the oldest of our National Trails turns westward by the Nick and makes the long descent to the village of Dufton. To approach High Cup Nick in such a way, after miles of moorland walking, must be quite an experience, like tumbling off the edge of the world.
Charming was the woodland scenery of Dufton Gill Wood, its St Bees sandstone rocks exposed for all too see in this landscape of wild and very visible geology. As I walked across farmland to Keisley Bridge, I remained on low ground, the great ridge of the Pennines to the east. This is the land of the Helm, that great stormy wind that can sweep without mercy down into the vale from the neighbouring hills.
I sat for a while on the parapet of the bridge over the Keisley Beck. This was what the roaming life was really all about. Just one individual in the heart of wild nature. My heart was merry, and I could have danced over the stile before me. It was a weekday and this was a holiday. I considered the millions in work that very same day, perhaps doing jobs that were an anathema to them, maybe for poor pay. I have done such work myself, dreading the lightening of the morning when I had to set out for another day’s wage slavery. Whereas I had the freedom of the hills to look forward to, the hours were my own and I could go wherever I wanted to. Shackles loosened, I made my way passed a farm with the odd name of Harbour Flatt and then out on to the open fells.
This is wonderfully untamed country, where the Pennines drop so suddenly to the flood plains of the River Eden. Such a contrast of lands too, the wild moorland set against the flatter lands of wood and meadow. The track I followed led out on to the slopes of a very rocky hill called Middletongue, high above the tumbling waters of Trundale Gill, itself in as spectacular valley as any fellwalker might wish for.
As I climbed higher and higher, I found myself in the midst of wild and exposed moorland, broken up with patches of whin sill rock and hundreds of shake holes, a land shattered by the forces of geology. As I paused I could see the cultivated fields of Eden spread out from horizon to horizon, north to south, whilst before me were mile after mile of lonely fell. Skylarks hovered and danced overhead, and everywhere were the mournful cries of curlew and snipe.
I took my own line over Middletongue to the southern rim of High Cup Nick, where I stood in silence, bewildered by the incredible sight before me. Descriptions and photographs do not do justice to High Cup Nick. In all my long years of walking I had never seen anything quite like it. This great gash in the Pennines almost defines the words, awesome, forbidding, magnificent. It is a deep canyon, boxed with mighty cliffs at one end, bar a narrow cut where the waters of High Cupgill Beck tumble through and down, the wind from the west blowing its spray back over the lip of the fall towards the moorland above. An overhanging lip of whin sill lines the edges of the great valley, huge slopes of grey scree climbing up to meet it, these cliffs broken by the white lines of waterfalls, tiny becks achieving majesty as they tumble hundreds of feet to join the river far below.
High Cup Nick seemed like one of those places in legend where quests are resolved, where heroes engage in final battles, and where the mighty come to die.
I wandered around the southern rim to the waterfall itself, finding quite a tiny beck flowing in from the gentle slope of the fells. I scrambled a little way down the waterfall to get the best view down the valley, the westerly wind blowing the odd spume across my back, cooling in the hot weather. The thought occurred to me that this must be a terrible place when the Helm Wind is at its fiercest.
I followed the route of the Pennine Way around the Nick’s northern edge and clambered out on to the rocky crag known as Nichol’s Chair, supposedly named after a Dufton cobbler who sat there and mended some shoes. It was a precarious perch for me just sitting still, the great drop below reminding me that I was not immortal. But it was a wonderful place to be, and I was filled with the sheer joy of living. I remembered the schoolteacher who branded me ‘challenge dependent’ at quite an early age.
Perhaps he was right.
I pulled back a short distance to eat lunch on the edge of the Pennine Way, waving a greeting at a party of quite elderly ramblers who came by, heading for the head of the waterfall. I watched as they reached there and then they disappeared down into the chasm. I thought that they had probably just halted for lunch, but the sounds of exhilarated yelling from the party took me back to the edge. There they were, scrambling down the boulder field beside the waterfall and evidently enjoying every minute of the experience. Now, I had glimpsed them on the way up the track and the youngest must have been way over seventy. I watched as they reached the bottom of the cliff, and smiled at their great shouts of triumph.
I headed down the Pennine Way back to Dufton, stopping every few yards to gain yet a different view of High Cup Nick and, in the other direction, a vista of the familiar mountains of the Lake District. As I turned a corner in the track, High Cup Nick was lost from view, and I plodded into Dufton, where I sat for a while on the green, reminiscing about the day’s walk. I like Dufton, the village of the Doves, its cottages lining a pleasant green, with the fells still in sight. W.H. Auden thought it the prettiest village in England.
A few days later, I was in Bowness-on-Windermere and strolled into a place selling antiquarian books and prints, for old books about the countryside are a passion for me. There was nothing I wanted in the book line, but among the framed prints I found an old engraving of High Cup Nick. It adorns my wall to this day and I cannot pass it without recalling the moody atmosphere of that great cleft in the western edge of the Pennines.
Or perhaps not caves in the exact sense of the word. More hollows or manmade features.
In my Dartmoor wanderings I usually found some hollow to crawl in, which saved the need to take a tent or a bivvy bag – there are so many such places, nearly every Dartmoor tor has at least one. I had favourites. I spent many a night in the long crack atop Great Links Tor, a grand Dartmoor bedroom which needed a bit of mild rock climbing to access. Another was the niche under Cuckoo Rock, not far from Sheepstor, which offers one of the best views on Dartmoor. It was always a strange feeling lying there, in the very roots of the great rock pile. I would always make a point of scrambling to the top on nice evenings to see the wide view over south-western Dartmoor.
Not far away, above the brook in the Deancombe (Dennycombe) Valley were several potato caves, dug as storage to keep the spuds dry by the local farmers. Their farmsteads are ruins now but the caves remain. I used to sleep in those too on wilder nights when the south west gales battered the moorland.
One of my favourite caves was the Pixies Holt, not far from Dartmeet (see blogs passim), or my website http://www.johnbainbridgewriter.com/ A lovely dry place to camp out right in the centre of Dartmoor.
Eight - Walking in Foxley Wood
Foxley Wood is, at 300 acres, the largest stretch of ancient woodland remaining in Norfolk. Thought to be at least 6000 years old, a rare survivor in a managed landscape. It is now a National Nature Reserve, administered by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust who acquired the woodland in 1988. There is, unlike many Norfolk woodlands, a fair amount of access for walkers.
We went in the early evening, approaching through the village of Bawdeswell – visiting on the way the parish church, rebuilt in the last century, after a Mosquito fighter-bomber crashed into the original building and burst into flames, killing the two-man crew, in 1944.
It was well worth visiting Foxley Wood in bluebell time, and the fringes of the wood gave a good display, amid some wonderful examples of coppiced trees – for this walk, unlike many in Norfolk, seems, historically, to have been worked more for timber than for hunting. According to Domesday the wood offered Pannage to 300 swine, suggesting that the eleventh century wood was little different in size to what you can see today.
We walked the rides in a great circuit, making our way back among the edge of the wood, where it met a bright yellow field of rapeseed. It was just as we were leaving, to follow the lane back to Bawdeswell, that we had our last surprise, the distinctive sound of a Nightjar.
Nine - Exploring Norfolk – climbing the church tower at Ranworth
I can remember when it was often possible to climb church towers across England. These days it is a rare privilege. So it was a great treat on the recent visit to Norfolk, to be able to climb the tower of St Helen’s church at Ranworth – the Cathedral of the Broads.
Better still, it was on a beautiful clear morning with distant views across the Broads and surrounding countryside. Patches of blue water and boats making their lazy way across Ranworth Broad and the River Bure.
First came 89 winding, tight and uneven stone steps, then a metal ladder and a wooden ladder past the bells, a push-up of a trapdoor and out on to top of the tower, some 96 feet above the ground. As the church guide book says, “the View! Like the ascent, the panorama is breathtaking.” It certainly is! I am always full of admiration for the masons that built this. My grandfather worked as a steeplejack. I envied him his work this day.
The church is well worth a visit even if you don’t climb the tower. The 15th century painted medieval screen is the best example in England, with clear portrayals of saints and apostles. There is a beautifully coloured Antiphoner – a real work of art and both new and old misericords.
I like exploring these old churches, so much a direct link with the people of the past. Ranworth’s church is one of the best, their guidebook one of the most comprehensive I have encountered.
Across the churchyard is a splendid tearoom run by parish volunteers, welcome after the climb up the tower.
Nine - Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk
The sun shone every day of our week in Norfolk, with just one rain shower that was mostly overnight anyway – a welcome relief after such a wet summer. Over the next few days, I’ll mention a few of the places we visited.
On the first sunny day, we went to Felbrigg Hall, the ancestral home of the Wyndham Family but now a property of the National Trust. The last private owner was the historian Robert Ketton-Cremer, who gifted the property to the NT after his brother Richard, was killed in action in World War Two. The Felbrigg estate covers some 1,760 acres of parkland including the 520-acre Great Wood.The church on the estate has some splendid box pews, and lovely walls of flint. The parkland is peaceful – we walked around the lake and through some very quiet areas of parkland. Hard to imagine you are so near to busy Cromer.
As well as free walking in the parkland, there are several public rights of way, including the Weavers Way trail, all of which seemed very popular with walkers and cyclists. A good place to visit but leave lots of time.
Ten - Heydon in Norfolk
In the 21st century, it is hard to comprehend that there are still English villages that are completely privately owned. There are about a dozen such villages in total.
Heydon, in north Norfolk, is just such a village.You may well have seen Heydon even if you have never been there, for it has often been used as a location in film and television productions. Joseph Losey used it for a number of scenes in his film of L.P. Hartley‘s Norfolk novel The Go Between. It has featured in Love on a Branch Line, The Moonstone, the Woman in White, Vanity Fair and A Cock and Bull Story.
When you get there you can see why. There is no through road through the village and there has been no new building there since 1887, when a well was built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s jubilee.
The buildings are a delight, making Heydon a highlight even in a county of very beautiful villages.
Heydon Hall, which owns the village, is the home of the Bulwer Long family (the writer Edward Bulwer Lytton was a member of the family). In the grounds is Cromwell’s Oak, where the Lord Protector once – according to legend – sought refuge from a rampaging bull!
We walked in the park to see the house, before exploring the church, which is another of the delights of Norfolk. It has the remnants of wall paintings, uncovered in recent years.
A lovely village, a strange survival from earlier times.
Exploring Norfolk: A Pilgrimage to Walsingham
I have always been interested in the history of pilgrimages, visiting many of the great sites such as Glastonbury, Iona and so on. I have seen the tiny crosses carved by medieval pilgrims in church porches in Sussex, walked some of the old pilgrim routes. The concept of the pilgrimage is strange to the 21st century mind, you might think that it doesn’t happen very much in our busier world. But it still does in Norfolk, to the old shrines at Walsingham.
I remember hearing of the Walsingham pilgrimages twenty years ago, when I was an undergraduate in Norwich. I visited Walsingham then and found it a strange place, somewhere out of time. Being in Norfolk the other week we travelled to Walsingham so that I might see what had changed in a couple of decades.
Not a lot. There are still many buildings medieval in origin, many of the houses would have begun existence as hostelries for pilgrims. There are some goodly examples of Georgian architecture. Many of the kings of England took the pilgrimage to Walsingham, including Henry VIII, who walked barefoot – as tradition demanded – to the shrine. In the aftermath of the royal divorce, the same king brought the priory crashing down – literally.
The revival of the pilgrimage came with the Oxford Movement in the nineteenth century, and has continued down the years since.
We began at the Slipper Chapel in neighbouring Houghton St Giles, which is now the many-candled Roman Catholic Shrine, before travelling into Little Walsingham to visit the scant ruins of the priory. The Shirehall Museum is worth a visit, not just for its relics of the priory, but to see the old courthouse and exhibits about earlier Norfolk life.
The priory ruins are now privately owned. Rather a garden with some monuments of the old priory than the other way around. Paths lead through some rather lovely and atmospheric woodland to the Stiffkey (pronounced stukey) river. You can almost feel the old monks and pilgrims wandering around.
Out in the town, in what was once part of the old railway station, is a little converted chapel for Russian orthodoxy. It seems many faiths are represented in Walsingham today.
Bar some Catholics at the Slipper Chapel who had, apparently, pilgrimaged by motor coach, we saw no pilgrims on this journey. It would be interesting to see the town filled with pilgrims once again, to talk to them about the purpose of their journey as I once did many years ago.
Walsingham is worth visiting just for the architecture. As a survival of pilgrimage linking to an earlier age it is unique in England.