Bright Lights and Waders: What keeps us walking the Leeds Pilgrimage?

“The shared experience of friendship, intention focused on pilgrimage”
“You never know what’s going to happen next!”
“You feel more of our history in the countryside. In the city it is often covered up”
“It’s a great time to stop and reflect, quietly alone, or with others”
“Birds and wildlife”
“We keep getting new vantage points over the city”
“The hospitality we had from the local church”
“Seasons changing in front of our eyes: in winter we saw autumn leaves and new snowdrops”

Walking from Swilllington to Methley

We were welcomed by the hospitality of rural Christians at St Mary’s, Swillington, who hold open church on Wednesdays, and provide early morning Eucharist, refreshments, and a great deal of enthusiasm for their floral decorations, inside and out. A team were clearing the ground, preparing for the bountiful snowdrops, to be shared at their Snowdrop Festival on February 25th.

Bright lights and visions

We walked on the day of the feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, pondering the nature of our own nature-based visions, as we enjoyed the blinding light of winter sunshine. It was also the final day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and we started out with reflections on themes of pilgrimage. We are an ecumenical group, open to anyone who wants to join, and conversations reflected our own small desire for Christian unity.

Waters and waders

Near Swillington, alongside the river Aire, its parallel canal, and large pools or lakes, lies the St Aidan’s bird reserve. Due to ownership disputes, this beautiful former colliery country is not an RSPB reserve yet, but is open to public access. It is a fabulous place to get lost among the pools and water channels, watching waders, owls, starling murmurations, and in spring hearing the booming of bitterns. Access from Methley village, from Fleet Lane off Oulton, and various other points. You can join Swillington Bird Group to gain access to the bird hide and extensive information about wildlife species here. The Rivers MEET cafe in Methley provides home made food at its best!

Join us for Wedge 6 of Leeds Country Way, on Wednesday 23nd February. We will be walking on from Methley to Carlton or beyond. All are welcome, but if you or your church are near, you are especially invited!

Phone Leeds Church Institute on 0113 391 7928 to receive times and bus details.