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10 of the best pilgrim routes in Europe: readers’ travel tips

From marching with monks to heavenly Korean food, our tipsters have experienced joy – spiritual and earthly – on these venerable trails

A 10-day pilgrimage from Winchester to Canterbury, following Walking The Pilgrim’s Way by Leigh Hatts (Cicerone), included many ups and downs, both literal and emotional. There are many glorious parts of the walk, but the one that took my breath away was the hard push up Hackhurst Downs in Surrey, through a gorgeous yew-lined avenue, which then opened magnificently on to Blatchford Down. The splendid views from the top are well worth the ascent. To get the most of the pilgrimage, make sure you go off-path to visit the many divine little churches along the way, especially 900-year-old St Benedict’s in Paddlesworth (near Maidstone), Kent.
britishpilgrimage.org
Kirrily Long

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Walk this way: five of the best winter hikes in Ireland

Crisp blue skies, autumnal leaves falling to the ground – nothing beats a bracing winter walk through the Irish countryside. Here are five of the best around the island of Ireland, as well as tips on where to refuel along the way

Sheep’s Head Loop

Right on one of the most southerly points of Ireland, Sheep’s Head is a beautiful peninsula in West Cork. A dramatic outcrop jutting out into the Atlantic, it makes for an exceptional walk, with little loughs and rocky peaks, alongside the ever-present sea views. In its entirety, the whole walking trail is 55 miles in length, though there are plenty of shorter loops you can do along the way.

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