Launched this month, the Falmouth Way has become the latest of several paths of Christian pilgrimage, both ancient and modern, across Cornwall.

It joins the Saints’ Way, the Cornish Celtic Way and the Bodmin Way, as a recognised route for both pilgrims and tourists.

Local churchpeople have published a booklet which guides visitors round a series of nine walks between a dozen churches in the area around Falmouth and Penryn.

The booklet also invites walkers to consider the natural world around them as they walk. It is available for free at local churches.

It was launched by the Right Reverend Hugh Nelson, Bishop of St Germans, at a well-attended event in the grounds of Budock Church on Saturday 8th April.

Bishop Philip at the launch event in Budock

“I think what you’re doing is absolutely fantastic,” said Bishop Hugh.

He noted the Falmouth Way’s connections with the other routes of pilgrimage in the county.

“It reminds us that this new path was walked by the great saints who brought the faith to Cornwall,” he said. “The very first Christians were known as the followers of the way. By calling this new route the Falmouth Way, you’re doing something deeply and profoundly ancient.”

Bishop Hugh also expressed his hope that these walks through the Cornish countryside would inspire walkers in their care and consideration for the natural environment.

“When you go for a walk, you make a choice, the choice of which way to take,” he said. “I hope that those who walk the Falmouth Way will make the choice for creation.

“We all have to make choices in this world – whether we want a world that heats up as our biodiversity disappears – or whether we want a different kind of world.

“I hope that everyone who walks this way will be open to change and will be a bit changed by the experience.”

The Reverend Geoffrey Bennett of Budock Church

Representatives of neighbouring parishes attended the launch event to make public pledges as to their own commitments to the environment. These included the creation of a nature garden, the hosting of nature talks, keeping records of wildlife in churchyards, increasing rainwater-saving facilities, extending wildflower plots, and using church land to grow fruit and vegetables to help feed their communities.

The vicar of Budock parish, the Reverend Geoffrey Bennett, enthusiastically welcomed the Falmouth Way initiative.

“It’s quite amazing,” he said. “There’s been a great team working on it. People have really taken to it – it’s really got legs. The idea is that it will appeal to all ages and generations.”

Lucy Thompson and Lorna Crewes

The Falmouth Way project was devised and developed by local volunteers Lucy Thompson and Lorna Crewes.

“We wanted to forge links between our churches and at the same time to appreciate the beauty and wonder of creation,” Lucy explains. “We hope these walks will bring visitors to enjoy everything our very special area has to offer.”

“We wanted to create a map to link everybody up,” Lorna adds. “We also wanted to incorporate nature, and lots of history. It’s good for health and wellbeing as well.”

Lorna Crewes in the churchyard at Budock

It had all started at a deanery awayday last year. After being treated to a nice meal, representatives of the parishes had been asked to volunteer to take on specific strategic roles. Lucy and Lorna had plumped to be Creation Care champions.

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” Lorna laughs.

Lorna is also responsible for the managed rewilding of the churchyard at Budock, which has created an attractive space for plants, wildlife and visitors to the church.

“We want to remind people about the world around us, that people and nature are here together,” she says.

Interior of Budock Church