Cannock to Lichfield.      7 miles.

  My B&B host gives me a lift back to the Ring Circle Fort, and I’m on my way, downhill to Lichfield.  One was supposed to be able to see the cathedral from up here, but low cloud prevented that. There was good walking up on Gentleshaw Common and then old tracks through woods to come out onto quiet lanes to sleepy Chorley.

Back into the fields I came to Farewell Hall and the Church of St. Bartholomew built on the site of a priory.

For the next two miles I walked along the ancient Cross In Hand Lane, so named from the wooden cross pilgrims would hold as they approached St Chad’s Well. This lane was a joy to walk, in places hewn out between sandstone banks and in others with mature hedges. A scattering of farms were passed along the way, and at the bottom of the last hill a cave reputedly used by Medieval candle sellers to pilgrims.

Medieval cave?

Lichfield was entered alongside the old Pinfold, which has been recently restored.

The house belonging to Erasmus Darwin, the Physician and naturalist and Charle’s grandfather, is now a museum in the shadow of the cathedral. The man himself was looking out of a window. There are many fine houses in Lichfield which is worth a longer visit.

At last the three unique towers of Lichfield Cathedral were seen as I approached the magnificent entrance. A Saxon church was built here to house the bones of St Chad, to be replaced by a Norman Cathedral, the present Gothic structure dates from the 13th and 14th centuries.  One walks down the beautifully vaulted nave, through the chancel and there in front of you is the shrine of St. Chad.

Behind in the Lady Chapel are the famous Herkenrode stained-glass windows rescued from Belgium. St. Chads Head Chapel was closed to the public.

Two relics related to St Chad were on display —  The Lichfield Angel,  a beautiful limestone carving from the chest that contained his bones. The 8th century St. Chad Gospels, from which St Chads cross emblem was derived.

Leaving the Cathedral I notice the statue of St Chad by local sculptor Peter Walker  recently installed in the grounds. He looks a kindly man. The south door is every bit as good as the main one,

I then wander alongside the lake, Stowe Pool originally a 12th century millpond and fishery, to reach St Chad’s Church and Well and my final interpretation board!  When St. Chad arrived in Lichfield, 669, he baptised converts at a local spring and founded a monastery. He was buried here in 672 but his bones moved the Cathedral when it was built in 700. The present day church is mainly from the 14th century with many more recent modifications. Nearby is the Well which has been popular as a pilgrimage place, at one time surrounded by arched walls but now by a simple wooden structure. I’m not sure that the water is very pure.

My journey had come to an end, I have learnt a lot and experienced a good mixture of rural and urban scenery. The route was well thought out in that respect. The churches have been inspiring and whatever your religious views they are beautiful buildings and how well we preserve the past in Britain. The problem of churches being closed occurs anywhere nowadays. The guide book is well written and informative, the instructions are clear. There was no shortage of accommodation (putting my Crewe faux pas aside) or dining possibilities, although Covid precautions are still affecting the latter. As usual, I met relatively few people walking any distance, and only four on The Two Saints Way. I covered 90 miles from Chester to Lichfield, but I have to say I was relieved to know I could now rest my heel for a few days. There has been constant background pain all week, which at times distracted me from my surroundings — I was beginning to feel like a real pilgrim towards the end and possibly should have dipped my foot in St. Chads Well.



    1. bowlandclimber Post author

      Thanks for your concern. I bruised my heel initially falling badly on to it whilst bouldering. So I presumed it was just bruising. I’m now treating it as if it were Plantar Fasciitis, but will get an Xray if no improvement.

    1. bowlandclimber Post author

      I think they could have made a better job of it, would have been OK just as an open well. At least there were no plastic gnomes fishing in the waters.
      Did you notice I found a St Bartholomew for you, not a trig point in sight.

  1. Michael Graeme

    Well done indeed on this one for slugging it out. Lots of interesting historical details along the way. Enjoyed reading as always. You certainly find lots of fascinating nooks and crannies.

  2. Martin Banfield

    I enjoyed these postings, BC. and I hope your heel gets better with a bit (but not too much) of rest.

    1. bowlandclimber Post author

      The postings were a bit long and drawn out, but the route was worthwhile. You would know some of the Cheshire stretches.
      The bike has emerged from the garage this week, pedalling puts no strain on the heel.

      1. Martin Banfield

        Good luck with the cycling – I may be up to do the PGW sometime soon. And yes, some of those paths in Cheshire are sort of familiar.

  3. George Kitching

    This has been a fascinating account of a rich and varied walk. Lots of inspiring buildings, intriguing heritage and some beautiful pastoral countryside. Well done for battling on with an injured heel. Hope it’s recovered now.

    1. bowlandclimber Post author

      Thanks for following my walk, it seems a long time ago, now that we are almost into November. Yes, there were many varied highlights and by walking a modest mileage each day I had time to ‘stand and stare’.
      The injured heel is stopping me walking at present — hence all the cycling.
      Hope you have escaped the worst of the flooding up there in the Lakes, looks dreadful on the telly.


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