The Bristol to Arundel Pilgrimage 2023

Day 3: Bath to Melksham

Apart from a few short slopes, this is a generally flat day's walk. Leaving the impressive church of Our Lady & St Alphege, the first part of the walk is along the disused Somerset & Dorset railway, now a pedestrian and cycle route called the Two Tunnels Greenway. This passes through two old railway tunnels, the first 300 metres long, the second 1670 metres; the UK's longest cycling and walking tunnel. After the tunnels the route crosses the tall viaduct at Tucking Mill, after which we descend to a quiet lane leading to Monkton Combe and a morning prayer stop in the church. Harry Patch, the longest surviving soldier from the WW1 trenches, is buried in the graveyard. Passing Monkton School and its playing fields the walk then reaches a remnant of the old Coal Canal and the Kennet & Avon Canal, crossing the impressive and historic Dundas Aqueduct. The towpath, with views of the River Avon valley and railway passing through it, leads to Avoncliff and the Cross Guns pub by the canal for lunch. After lunch, the walk proceeds to Bradford on Avon, with a brief visit to its medieval tithe barn, its Saxon church and nearby parish church. Then, after crossing fields, the walk returns to the canal towpath. Passing through the marinas of Staverton, a long easterwards canal stretch ends when the route diverts northwards on the locally-called “old road” and then a main road into the centre of Melksham and our overnight stop at the United Church.

Pilgrimage Newsfeed - Day 3

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Our Lady and St Alphege catholic church, designed by Giles Gilbert Scott. Aidan Simons

Inside the church Aidan Simons

The altar under its canopy Aidan Simons

Fr Tony the guitar man, before mass at Bath Aidan Simons

St Alphege Danny Thomas

Pilgrim Music at Mass John Chenery

The Tunnels

Into the first tunnel... Aidan Simons

Into the unknown... But well lit Aidan Simons

Some famous Bath citizens. Janet Catterick

The end is nigh! Aidan Simons

We made it out! John Chenery

St Michael, Monkton Combe

House of William Smith Father of Geology Janet Catterick

Refreshments at Monkton Coombe: wonderful! Susan Adilz

Prayers: Gary talks about the life of Mother Elvira, Cenacolo Community, which helps people with addiction problems. Susan Adilz

Cheers! Susan Adilz

How about this for a kitchen in church? Susan Adilz

At Monkton Coombe, the grave of Harry Patch who died in 2009 aged 111, the last survivor of the trenches of WW I John Chenery

Pilgrims catch up on the news. Susan Adilz

Nicole serving drinks a la francaise. Veronique

St Michaels, Monkton Combe Aidan Simons

Monkton School chapel, just after the church Aidan Simons

The Kennet and Avon canal goes over the River Avon Fr Tony Milner

Back on to the canal, in light drizzle Aidan Simons

View of the river from the aqueduct John Chenery

Dundas aqueduct - we walked along the top beside the canal Aidan Simons

Onwards along the canal John Chenery

The Cross Guns, Avoncliff

Mark at the Cross Guns Danny Thomas

Wasp protection Cross Guns Danny Thomas

The Cross Guns Danny Thomas

Picnic lunch just before the Cross Guns John Chenery

Lunch spot in Avoncliff Janet Catterick

The Cross Guns is downhill from the canal John Chenery

but the Cross Guns looks down on the river John Chenery

At the Cross Guns John Chenery

Bradford on Avon

The Tithe Barn at Bradford on Avon Fr Tony Milner

The Tithe Barn at Bradford on Avon Fr Tony Milner

Saxon church, Bradford on Avon. Fr Tony Milner

Saxon church, Bradford on Avon. Fr Tony Milner

Saxon church, Bradford on Avon. Fr Tony Milner

Pilgrims seen in the Tithe Barn John Chenery

The back of the Tithe Barn John Chenery

The Saxon church of St Laurence with Holy Trinity Church behind. We visited both. Fr Tony Milner

Inside the tithe barn Aidan Simons

Surveying the huge tithe barn in Bradford on Avon Aidan Simons

St Laurence church, Bradford on Avon Aidan Simons

Inside St Laurence Saxon church Aidan Simons

Holy Trinity Aidan Simons

Holy Trinity Bradford on Avon Aidan Simons

Norman Church of Holy Trinity in Bradford on Avon Janet Catterick

A bucolic scene, with a sailing club fred.adilz

Towpath bumble bee Danny Thomas

Drinks stop at Staverton John Chenery

Swan family with ten cygnets! Danny Thomas

A flotilla! Fr Tony Milner


Melksham United Church Janet Catterick

Aidan and Fred have an unscheduled drink stop. Louise

Some of us fell by the wayside just before the end, and enjoyed a sunny pint watching our fellow pilgrims pass by. Aidan Simons

An aerial view of of pilgrim washing up John Chenery

Talk by Gavin and Miranda about Bath Stone, its geology, and the Bath Stone museum. fred.adilz

With no projector in the church, Aidan's screen provided the visuals John Chenery