The Pilgrims Way is one the best known historical roads of England. Immortalised in one of the greatest classics of English literature, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the Pilgrims Way was a road (or network of roads) that ran from Winchester in the West to Canterbury in the East, and the term is commonly also used for several roads connecting to it from South London.
Nowadays, the exact course of the Pilgrims Way cannot be completely retraced. Many of the original paths have disappeared under roads and houses, especially in other counties, but most of the sections in Kent are still walkable.
Walking the Pilgrims Way
The best way to explore the Pilgrims Way is to travel it the same way as early pilgrims did – by foot – but it is recommended to take each stage at a time.
In Kent, the Pilgrims Way can roughly be approximated with the modern North Downs Way, which is clearly labelled on maps and signs. Mostly running along ancient hedgerows, it boast fine views of hills, fields and woodlands, and the villages along it mostly still have traditional pubs and inns with cold drinks, warm food and log fires to greet the weary traveller.
The North Downs Way website http://www.northdownsway.co.uk provides a good practical guide with photos for those interested in walking the Pilgrims Way.