Bishop Helen-Ann joins pilgrimage to remember northern saint

As one of the first events to mark the 800th anniversary of the death of St Robert of Knaresborough,  the Bishop of Ripon, Helen-Ann Hartley, is joining a pilgrimage from  St Robert’s Church in Pannal to the site of the 13th century saints famous cave by the river in Knaresborough.

The walk takes place on May 7, Bank Holiday Monday, and begins with prayer at St Robert’s Church before the pilgrimage begins at 10am.

The route will take those who join it along a stretch of the Harrogate Ringway and then adjoin with part of the Knaresborough Round, taking in Rudfarlington Farm where Robert spent  some of his life. On arrival at the cave, there will be a short worship service at around 2.30pm.

The full walk is 7.5 miles, taking in some stunning views of the Crimple Valley Viaduct, and crossing open grassland, woodland and riverside walking. The terrain is mixed but is relatively level. Walkers are invited to bring a picnic lunch to eat at Calcutt, around 4.5 miles into the walk.

Curate at St Robert's Church, Pannal is the Revd Abbie Palmer, pictured above with the Revd John Smith, Vicar of  Pannal with Beckwithshaw. She said, "The 800th anniversary of Saint Robert is a great occasion for our church in Pannal, which is the only Anglican Church in the country to be dedicated to this inspiring northern saint. It has given me the opportunity to learn more about this inspiring Saint whose Christian mission was to protect and provide for the weak in society. His counter-cultural approach turned the hearts of many who encountered him across the breadth of society, including the King.

"To  mark this anniversary year, we are excited to be inaugurating a new pilgrimage walk from St Robert’s Church Pannal to St Robert’s Cave in Knaresborough on 7 May. This route will connect our 13th century church with the most significant of Saint Robert’s historic sites. We are delighted be joined by the Bishop of Ripon, Rt Revd Helen-Ann Hartley, as we walk the 7.5 miles, taking in parts of the Harrogate Ringway and Knaresborough Round.

"Photos of the inaugural walk together with information about Saint Robert will then feature on the “Saint Robert’s Way” walk map we will produce to enable others to follow this route for years to come. People of all walks of life can then be inspired by this local holy man’s story as they tread in his footsteps."

For those unable to access the full walk, others are welcome to join the Pilgrimage at St Robert’s Cave on Abbey Road at 2.30pm for the  worship service.

Pannal train station is only 5 minutes walk from St Robert’s Church services run from Leeds, Harrogate and York to this station every half an hour. There is also parking at St Robert’s Church in Pannal. Lifts will be available to Knaresborough Train Station at the end of the walk where trains run to Pannal, Leeds and York every half an hour.

If you plan to join the walk, please register your interest by emailing Revd. Abbie Palmer at  curate [at] You can also contact Abbie if you have any questions or queries about the pilgrimage.

For more information on joining this walk and other Saint Robert anniversary events visit

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