Group leader: Robin Dorkings

In 2019, an enews came out requesting for anyone living near Reading to get in touch with me if they were interested in getting together with other members in the area.  After receiving a number of positive responses I mailed everyone to ask what days of the week and timings suited them and what activities would be of interest (the top 2 were local walks and talks from local Reading historians).

We had a first informal get together over tea/coffee and biscuits, talked about our backgrounds and Camino experiences and agreed that our first outing would be a local walk.  The meeting was on a Saturday morning in St James Church in Reading.  

Our first outing was a 3 hour local walk in January 2020 taking in 2 St James’ churches followed by a pub lunch.  18 people came along.  It’s important to add that the invitation to the walk went out to non-members as well, anybody that local members knew who wanted to come along.  We had around 5 non members.  

I would like to organise a tour of the Reading Abbey ruins (now restored and a growing local attraction), Reading Museum and other local sites, followed by a talk on the history of Reading Abbey and the Hand of St James.  We are lucky in having a number of professional and amateur historians willing to give talks. 

A local member of the group has also offered to organise a walk in her locality, so the pot is boiling nicely.  

I have 30 people on the list now, incl non members. 

My recommendation is to keep things informal, solicit input from the group members and encourage them to communicate amongst themselves. 

I have also been heavily involved with updating the CSJ's guide to the probable pilgrim route from Reading to Southampton, dubbed by its creators St James' Way. In 2020, a small group of us were lucky enough to be able to walk the first two days of the route, in between lockdowns.  

Once restrictions ease, I look forward to organising more walks, talks and get togethers with this very enthusiastic group.

For contact details, email the office.

Recent updates

August 2023:

On the Saturday preceding St James’ day a group of 12 CSJ members and friends met in Henley on Thames to walk along the river to view the Hand of St James which resides in St Peters church in Marlow. For hundreds of years before the dissolution of the monasteries the Hand was on display in Reading Abbey, and since the late 19th C it has been in Marlow.  We escaped the rain for the first hour or so but for the next 3 hours we trudged on in very wet conditions. Our spirits were revived when we arrived in Marlow, and after refreshments in a local pub Fr John Udris gave us a very interesting talk about the Hand and its history.

Overall a wet but happy day…