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Easter pilgrimage to Walsingham

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About Student Cross

Student Cross is a Christian pilgrimage organised by and for students, young adults, and pilgrims of all ages, which began in 1948. Pilgrims experience Holy Week and the joy of the Resurrection as a living reality. It's a chance to celebrate Easter in a unique way.

Eleven different groups, known as Legs, walk from different parts of the country across Norfolk to Walsingham. Kind-hearted parishes provide food and accommodation along the way. Each Leg carries a large wooden cross as a witness to the people they pass.

Find out more about the different routes

The climax of the week is in Walsingham, a centre of pilgrimage for many centuries. This is where all the Legs meet up to celebrate the Easter liturgies together over the Easter weekend, including a vibrant Paschal Party after the Easter vigil on Saturday evening.

Facts and figures

  • Student Cross first started walking from London to Walsingham in 1948. It was originally a male-only Catholic pilgrimage and pilgrims had to carry all of their belongings
  • Northern Leg started in 1949, leaving from Nottingham. Since then, Oxford (1962), Midland (1971), Essex (1972) and Kettering (1975) were also founded, walking for the full week
  • Ely Leg started in 1996. It walks for three days from Wednesday
  • Two family groups - Peg and Wells (2006) - meet up on the evening of Palm Sunday, for 5 days of short, all-age walks from one residential base.
  • One leg for families with older children of secondary school age - Wensum (2012) walks shorter distances of no more than 10 miles per day over 5 days.
  • Easter Leg walks one day only on Good Friday.
  • Women officially started walking in 1966, though, previously, there had been many occasions when they helped carry the cross while 'stronger' men recovered from their blisters and other ailments.
  • Christians of other denominations started walking Student Cross in the 1960s. Although Student Cross is still predominantly Catholic, scores of felllow Christians have walked and continue to take part in the pilgrimage.
  • Well known people to have walked Student Cross include novelist David Lodge, Bishop Emeritus of Portsmouth Rt Rev Crispian Hollis, and Big Brother 2006 winner Pete Bennett (albeit as a child).
  • The Archbishop of Liverpool, Rt Rev Malcolm McMahon, is one of the patrons of the Student Cross Association, which supports pilgrims.
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Student Cross is supported by the Student Cross Association
Registered Charity number 1019313