Take a Step for Children:

Walk a historic route to raise funds for Save the Children


20 miles on the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Dover, 7 October, 2017 for Save the Children


What we hope to achieve

The UK has over 140,000 miles of footpaths, offering incredible opportunities to explore our wonderful countryside.  On our very doorstep begins the historic Via Francigena (the French Way), originally a Roman route which connected the British Isles to Rome.  The UK section follows the better known North Downs Way, from Canterbury through the picturesque villages of Patrixbourne and Womenswold, through Shepherdswell and finishing at the port of Dover.  Just an hour and a half by ferry, the route continues into Calais and beyond through Northern France, the Champagne region, Switzerland and then Italy  (to read more about the Via Francigena click on ‘blog’ where you can read about  Julia Peters’ journey on the route over 79 days).

This event aims to give participants a unique opportunity to:

  1. Spend a day discovering the historic route – walking in the footsteps of ancient Romans and medieval pilgrims
  2. To raise money for children in need – children all over the world live without sufficient food, clean water or shelter.  The challenge of walking 20 miles takes us out of the comfort of our daily lives, necessitating a reliance on our own abilities, and the support of those around us.  This day represents the chance to experience, in a safe way, some of the struggles that a refugee child experiences when forced to move their lives across Europe in search of a better life. Overcoming such a challenge not only instills a deep sense of accomplishment, it also triggers a renewed appreciation for resources that we so often take for granted.

How to Participate:

A. Walking

Sign up in the contact form below to walk the full route, 20 miles, from Canterbury to Dover.  Registration has a suggested donation of £20 (£1 per mile).

  • You are not required to walk the full route. There is the possibility to take a train from Shepherdswell (12 miles from Canterbury) in the event that you decide not to walk the full 20 miles.
  • Consider additional fundraising by asking family, friends and colleagues to support your efforts by sponsoring you.
  • Make it a family day out, or get a group of friends together for a team challenge.

B.  Donation Only

If you would like to support the cause through a donation your contribution will be very much appreciated and will make a significant difference to the life of an impoverished child.

  • Donate here                                                                           DONATE
  • Share this website on Facebook and encourage friends to support the cause

To register for the walk on the 7th of October, please fill-in the following form:

For questions regarding this event please feel free to contact Julia Peters at:

 100% of donations go directly to Save the Children

*the website Mydonate deducts 15p per donation for processing debit card payments and 1.5% for credit card payments.


First Annual Via Francigena Fundraiser a Great Success!

Event held on 16 April, 2016 to raise funds for the Charity Save the Children.  Over £2,000 raised by 44 participants walking the 20 mile UK section of the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Dover.  Read all about it below!

group walking

Pilgrims on the Way!

The first annual charity walk on the UK section of the VF, Canterbury to Dover, held on 16 April, was a great success.   I have never organised an event like this before and was very lucky to have received the help and support of Martina Gannon, who walked the last 100 KM of the VF to Rome with me in 2015.   44 individuals walked the full 20 miles, raising £2,100 for the charity Save the Children.  Participants included Brian Mooney, Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome Chairman, several members of the Confraternity, Velia Coffey, Vice-President of the European Association of the Vie Francigene, staff and students of the University of Kent and members of the public.  The event received support from: the University of Kent, who provided personalized t-shirts and sponsored ten Kent students; the Canterbury Cathedral, who supplied pilgrim credentials and a blessing to the pilgrims by Canon Irvine, and the churches of Patrixbourne and Womenswold who provided tea, coffee, cake and a short talk on the history and architecture of the churches.

Despite a cold and windy start at 7.45 at the Cathedral, there was a high level of enthusiasm as the group walked out of Canterbury and into the countryside.  The first stop was at the church of Patrixbourne after 3 miles, where the group was graciously welcomed by volunteers from the parish, who handed out cups of tea and coffee to the eager pilgrims.  Participants lined up to get their credentials stamped before heading back into the damp morning, across muddy fields to Womenswold.  Muddy boots were left at the door as the walkers piled into the church for another tea break and some delicious homemade cake.  The group reached the Bell pub in Shepherdswell, ahead of schedule, for a one-hour lunch break.  A delightful walk across the fields of Waldershare House and a stop at the Church of All Saints ensured spirits remained high in the afternoon, even if energy levels were starting to fall.  A diversion from the official route to avoid flooding brought the group through the village of Guston, turning back onto the VF after crossing the A2.  The finish line was at the Red Lion pub, where a buffet had been laid out for the tired but happy pilgrims.

three gals

Happy Pilgrims on the Roman Road

Due to the success of this event, I plan to organize another charity walk next year, which has tentatively been set for 7 May, 2017.  Positive impacts on the development of the VF in the UK as a result of the walk include:  increased local awareness of the VF, an expression of interest in the churches to provide better facilities for the pilgrims, including obtaining an official stamp and the future possibility of organizing champing (camping in a church) to accommodate pilgrims, and most importantly, bringing the problems of inadequate signage and impassable sections of the route to the attention of local authorities.

Thank you to all who donated to this amazing cause and to all those who participated.  A special thank you to Martina Gannon and Joanna Maskens, who helped to ensure the event ran smoothly, and Chris Burn for capturing such lovely photographs.

group with banner

Group photo before we set out from the Cathedral


Womenswold Church


This way!