Return to Pilgrim’s Guide
Information in this section of the Pilgrim’s Guide is specific to my route from Worcester to Compostela. It is not a general guide to pilgrim routes. There is no shortage of information on all the main routes. The scallop shell – symbol of pilgrimage – also becomes a symbol of the roads all joining together in one road. The EU turned this to advantage, seeing it as a symbol of the joining together of Europeans in a common project. In 1987 the Council of Europe declared the Camino de Santiago as the first European Cultural Itinerary. This encouraged the recovery and development of the Camino. Also see Middle Ages, Tourism and Cultural Routes (a dowloadable PDF file.)
PILGRIMAGE ROUTE IN ENGLAND:
Stage I: Worcester to London
Completed distance for Stage I
Using the AA website distance calculator (http://www.theaa.com/travelwatch/planner_main.jsp) and the river distances between bridges on the Thames (www.the-river-thames.co.uk/bridgeheights.htm).
The distance walked from Worcester to London is as follows:
Worcester – Oxford (road)= 66.28
Oxford – Reading (river)= 37.75
Reading – Maidenhead (road)= 12.82
Maidenhead – Hampton Court (river)= 25.85
Hampton Court – Balham (road)= 11.58
Map links are all included in posts.
Total = 154.28 miles
As the road distances between Worcester and Oxford were considerably shorter than the network of footpaths I followed, this figure can be increased by another ten miles, so approaching 170 miles.
Stage II: Westminster, London to Newhaven Ferry
Map links are all included in posts.
Total = 65 miles
PILGRIMAGE ROUTE IN FRANCE:
Stage III: Dieppe to Rouen – Chasse Marée
Etape 1 Dieppe to Manéhouville guide can be found on the Normandy pilgrims’ website and links to all the Normandy Association des Amis guides can be found here. I recommend supplementing their information with a standard Michelin map: Download PDF file. This map was supplied for me by Amis de Saint-Jacques, Rouen, and is based on their detailed re-creation of the route. I have scanned it and provide it here for your use.
Stage IV: Rouen to Chartres – Chemin des Anglais
As mentioned on Day 17 Rouen to Louviers, I managed to leave my photocopies on the kitchen table of my hosts in Rouen. Consequently, I walked to Chartres without maps – it was a route I knew well enough anyway – and the balisage is very clear and easy to follow until Dreux (just before the town the route goes off left to the river Eure again) and then becomes a little more complex but well signposted. Anyone thinking of following this route (or any route mentioned here) is welcome to contact me for further directions. Though not at three in the morning when lost in a forest.
Stage V: Chartres to Rochecorbon (GR655 nr.Tours) on the Chemin des Anglais
Chartres to Cloyes
Use the clear and easy-to-follow guide from Association Saint-Jacques de Notre-Dame de Chartres, Les Chemins de Compostelle en Eure et Loir. I have scanned this A5 format guide, which has 10 stages with maps and descriptifs of the route, including in this copy my handwritten comments and extra detail, including some bar and meal stops in villages and towns. Download PDF file.
If you want a clean copy (!) or to find out if the Chartres Association has produced an updated edition, contact them at www.amis-st-jacques-chartres.org They might also have extended their guide from Cloyes to Tours, which would be a good addition to route knowledge of the Chemin des Anglais.
The town plan with location of the campsite and gite (7.70 euros/night) in Château-Renault is provided on a separate PDF file.
The balise pictured here is the very first you meet as you come off the Chemin des Anglais from Chartres at Rochecorbon and join the GR655 – here a river path -alongside the Loire, a few kilometres before Tours.
The GR655 balisage indicates the main route south now – and it on the route of the classic Via Turonensis – the Latin name for the route from Paris that passes through Tours. As we join it on this pilgrimage we come off the Chemin des Anglais at Rochecorbon. (Tourism office in a pavilion by the river: free route guides and information about accommodation.)
Stage VI: Tours to Poitiers – via Turonensis
This link takes you to a very good site about the Via Turonensis.
As we go south now, we shall stay on the Turonensis all the way to Mirambeau via Poitiers, so I divide the route for convenience into these two stages, VI and VII. There is more pilgrim traffic now than we have become accustomed to on the Chemin des Anglais.
Apart from religious houses on the GR655 (and examples of particular abbeys and monasteries are mentioned in Walking Out of the World), the specific pilgrim accommodation is not easy to find as in Spain. If you are accustomed to the Camino Francés, be aware that you are sometimes going to find yourself paying for B&B at prices which may not be within your pilgrim budget. (For more detailed lodging advice see Lodging page.)