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St James' Way Camino Pilgrimage (1 day)

Reading Walks Festival 2024

Sat 11 May, 8:30 & Tue 14 May, 8:30

First day's walk from Reading on the St James’ Way, part of the Camino de Santiago. Suitable for modern-day pilgrims who want to find out more about the pilgrim experience or intend to complete the St James’ Way or continue to Santiago in Spain on the Camino Ingles at a later date.

The day starts at St James Church, its official starting point, with a visit to St James Shrine and a first stamp for your pilgrim passport. After visiting the nearby Reading Abbey ruins, the route follows the river Kennet and canal for 8 miles to St Mary's Church at Sulhamstead Abbots, before heading to Mortimer. Breaks will be taken at, or near, two pubs and church, with an optional end-of-day pub drink in Mortimer and a final stamp for this first day to Santiago.

If you plan to continue your camino, it is highly recommended to purchase a Pilgrim Passport, scallop shell badge, St James’ Way guide and map. These can be purchased in advance from the CSJ UK's website

Key facts

  • Part of the Reading Walks Festival 2024
  • Exercise - a healthy walk with some stopping points of interest. More walking/less talking
  • Hard difficulty / 18.5km / 11 hours.
  • Start - St James Church, Forbury Road. Finish - St. John's Church, Mortimer (before return to Reading by train)
  • Worn-in walking shoes are essential. Also, wear suitable walking clothes for the weather on the day e.g. poncho, over trouser, water/wind-proof top, sun cream and sun glasses.
  • Bring a packed lunch, drinks and snacks. However, there are pubs along the way for quick stops and shops at the start and end, with a few en route.
  • Toilets at the start and end, and also at pubs and churches en route.
  • Not family friendly
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Please note - this walk is repeated on 11 and 14 May. 

Please note: there is also a two-day pilgrimage walk on 17/18 May.

About the walk leader

David Sinclair is the walk leader.

"I am a Confraternity of St James (CSJ) member and volunteer. After walking the Camino Frances from St Jean Pied de Port I self-published a book offering 'Not Just a Long Walk' on Amazon about the experiences. Since then I have led the development of the St James' Way as a Camino in the South of England through various projects, including its continuous waymarking."

Getting there

To start: Bus or train to central Reading, walk around Forbury Gardens to St James Church.

Meeting point: St James’s Church

Return: Bus no. 2 or 2a from Mortimer back to central Reading.