Group leader: Annie Sparkes

The Bristol Group is one of our more active groups, who organise local walks, online quizzes, Practical Pilgrim Days and St James Day celebrations!

Latest updates/upcoming events:

August 2023:

The Bristol & SW Regional Group had a wonderful pre St James' Day celebration on Sunday 23 July 2023.  A group of 12 gathered for lunch at the Ring O'Bells pub in Hinton Blewett and then set off for a short walk over the green hills of Somerset in surprisingly good weather - the cows in the fields were not at all interested in a bunch of pilgrims wandering through their territory.  We arrived somewhat early at the 12th century church of St James in Cameley, described by John Betjeman as "Rip Van Winkle's church".  Although it is a redundant church it is a Grade 1 listed building and is now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. It has fragments of walls paintings and has links to the Knights Templar.  In celebration of St James the church held a beautiful prayer and choral service.  A most successful day out.

July 2023:

 Sunday 23 July 2023

 14.15 - meet at the Ring O Bells pub at Hinton Blewett, Bristol BS39 5AN for lunch at 14.30 Ring O Bells Hinton Blewett, Independent Country Pub, Restaurant with Bedrooms.  

16.30 - a pleasant 4 mile walk to the village of Cameley

18.20 - arrive at the church dedicated to St James for a prayer evening with a choir Church of St James, Cameley - Wikipedia

19.30 - a  short 30 min walk back to Hinton Blewett 

Please let Annie know if you are coming ([email protected]).  And, so that she can let the pub know in advance, please also let her know what you would like to order from their Sunday lunch menu. 

June 2023:

After coffee and cake at the Bishop's Table cafe a group of 17 happy Pilgrims set off on a 6 mile circular walk from Wells Cathedral and back on 17 May. The sun shone, the birds sang and stories of past, recent and future caminos were swapped.  We had hoped to have a guided tour of the cathedral but fate and time were against us. But the day was enjoyed by everyone anyway.

St James' Day - St James Church in Cameley, Somerset will be celebrating St James Day on 23 July with Evening Prayers and hopefully a choir.  The church dates back to the 12th century and still has fragments of wall paintings.  John Betjeman described it as "Rip Van Winkle's Church" - asleep for centuries and virtually untouched.  Annie is suggesting two options for the day which she will send separately by e-mail to group members.

Group leader Annie was very pleased to make a formal presentation of certificates and shell brooches to three friends who had walked the old salt route from Droitwich to Bristol on 20th October 2021.  In Worcester Cathedral they were able to view the boots and staff of the 15th century pilgrim unearthed in 1986. Their walk ended in Pill where, in March 1428, 80 pilgrims departed for Santiago de Compostela. However, the memorial stone where the trio are standing records the 2 Methodist preachers who in 1771 (Francis Asbury) and 1784 (Thomas Coke) sailed to America and became the first superintendents of the Methodist Church in America. They were formally given the title of Bishop in 1787. But the three events are linked by the stained glass window in Christ Church Pill which depicts St James standing above the USA’s National Symbol. The trio and myself were welcomed by the Church Warden and ladies of Christ Church Pill who laid on a lovely lunch. 

Email Annie here