The St James Way is approximately 68.5 miles / 110km long and has been designed for pilgrims who wish to walk from Reading Abbey, the centre of the cult of St James in England in the Middle Ages, to the port of Southampton, from where pilgrims may have sailed to France or Spain on their way to the shrine of St James at Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain.
The route uses existing public footpaths as far as possible and takes in churches of St James and places of pilgrim interest. Since it was first devised by members of the CSJ, further routes have been developed, most significantly the Hampshire County Council Millennium Footpath Trail for the route from Winchester to Portsmouth with a continuation in Normandy from Cherbourg to Mont-Saint-Michel, a pilgrim destination in its own right, as well as being one visited by pilgrims on their way to Santiago.
Pilgrims intending to start their pilgrimage in England on St James' Way, before continuing from A Coruna to Santiago, should collect pilgrim stamps in England and continue to collect them from A Coruna. The total distance is around 197km (England 110km, Galicia 87km) and therefore exceeds the minimum 100km requirement to obtain a Compostela certificate from the Pilgrims Office in Santiago.