Arts Derbyshire


Youlgrave Labyrinth launched to support Pommie Pilgrimage for loos – Pilgrimage without leaving home

10 million steps is a long way to the loo!

A Turf Labyrinth will be opened in the Peak District village of Youlgrave this weekend as the home version of the Pommie Pilgrims’ walk to 42 Anglican Cathedrals, a campaign to raise money to update the 12th century church with loos, kitchen facilities and a warm space for all.

In the last 4,000 years, people across the world have produced labyrinths and mazes. Following a charter by Edward II in 1353 the use of the turf labyrinths in villages across medieval Britain played a part in mid-summer festivities associated with the summer solstice and the Feast of St John the Baptist. In Youlgrave, the welldressing festival is similarly timed.

The Youlgrave Labyrinth has been designed to allow local people and visitors to the village to be able to walk the pilgrimage to England’s 42 Anglican Cathedrals without leaving the village. As designed it has 21 turns and so if walked to the centre and back a ‘pilgrim’ will have completed the journey to all 42 cathedrals. On Saturday pilgrims will meet at 1pm to ‘walk at 1 as one for peace’ ahead of the official ceremony at 2pm.

The Labyrinth will be opened on World Labyrinth Day by the Rev Peter Clark, a passionate labyrinth designer maker and facilitator.  A Methodist Minister and retired Chaplin within the prison service and to the York racecourse, Peter has created many labyrinths, including one for York University and another in a high security prison.

“The Labyrinth includes those less able, younger, older or without the luxury of time, to make their own pilgrimage and support this cause, it brings our whole community together, much like our church. We will be holding our family service at the labyrinth this Sunday showing how the act of walking can bring us all closer as a community.” Rev Jane Clay

The village of ‘Pommie’ named for its village band, is a strong community made up of the widest variety of people, from those who are born here, with generations of relatives in the graveyard, to those who have chosen to settle here from around the globe, including more recently families from Ukraine who have found shelter and community here.

With the demise of local services, smaller chapels and open toilets in rural communities, spaces such as Youlgrave All Saints’ Church provide a vital lifeline for the whole population. At some of the most important moments in our lives, marriages, christenings, funerals, times of celebration and crisis, the church really ought to be able to provide basic facilities without the young and elderly having to cross a busy road to go to the toilet. There have been embarrassing and unfortunate accidents that have resulted in dedicated members of our congregation never setting foot in the church again. The pilgrimage aims to raise £42,000 for toilets, a warm space and kitchen facilities in the church as part of a wider fundraising project for the reordering.

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