Who can enter?

Absolutely anyone of all fitness levels can take part. Whether you’re new to long-distance walking or a seasoned rambler, the sense of achievement will be the same; set yourself a personal challenge, walk in memory of someone, have a day out with your friends or enjoy a team building day with colleagues.

You must be 16 years and over to enter the Pilgrims Way Challenge and be accompanied by an adult at all times if you're under 18 years old. 16 and 17 year olds must have a signed parental consent form.

  • Early Bird entry: £25 (closes 12/5/19)
  • Standard online entry: £30 (closes 16/6/19)
  • On the day entry: £45

Much of the entry fee goes towards running the event and making sure that you have an enjoyable and safe experience. Therefore, we ask that you pledge to raise at least £100 sponsorship for your challenge (after all, it’s no easy feat to hike all that way!) Alternatively, if you'd rather not ask your friends and family to sponsor you, we hope you might consider making a personal donation towards the care we provide. This can be done at any time on our website, at our hospices in Ashford, Canterbury or Margate, or on the day of the event.

It costs Pilgrims Hospices just over £10,000 a day to run the full range of services at each of our hospices, and events like these help us to continue caring for local people as they near end of life. Please download a sponsorship form, set up your own online fundraising page with Just Giving, or call 01227 812 609.  Don’t forget to encourage your sponsors to tick the Gift Aid box if they’re eligible to do so; for every £1 donated, we’ll be able to claim an extra 25p from the Government at no cost to you or your sponsors. It makes a huge difference.

Both the 25km and 55km walk distances will begin from our start HQ at Wye Village Hall, Bridge Street, Wye, Kent TN25 5EA. Free parking is available at the venue as well as street parking nearby as shown here. The start HQ will open at 7:30am for registration; please do not arrive before this time.

The 35km walk distance will begin from Pilgrims Hospice, 56 London Road, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 8JA. Parking is not available on the hospice site but local on street parking is available nearby. The Sign-in period for 35km walkers is 11:00am - 12:00pm; please do not arrive before this time.

This depends on which route you're walking on the day:

  • Wye - Canterbury - Dover: 55km
    Walkers can check-in between 07:30 - 08:30am (no earlier please!)
  • Wye - Canterbury: 25km
    Walkers can check-in between 08:30 – 09:30am
  • Canterbury - Dover: 35km Walkers can check-in between 11am-12pm

On arrival please give your name to the registration desk volunteer who will check you off and issue you with a walker identification number, which you should fix visibly to your clothing with the safety pins provided.

Even if you've registered in advance you'll still need to check in with our registration team.

Departure times

You're free to start as soon as you've checked in. Depending on numbers, times may be staggered on the day to avoid congestion on the early stages of the trail.

On the day registrations

If you haven't registered in advance for the walk you'll need to visit the 'on the day' registration marquee. On the day entry is £45 and registration is available only during the sign-in period for your chosen distance.

Trail completion

All walkers must have completed the trail and checked back in at our de-registration tent by 9:00pm. If you haven't completed the trail by this time, the event organiser will attempt to contact you and you may be withdrawn from the challenge due to safety and control issues.

NOTE: Those walking 55km must reach the Canterbury hospice rest stop by 3pm in order to continue. Walkers arriving after this time will be instructed to finish as a 25km walker.

Inevitably, there are several points where the trail either crosses or follows a section of road for a short time. Walkers must be vigilant at all times when navigating these sections and adhere to the Highway Code for pedestrians. Specific sections where great care should be taken will be outlined in the pre-event information sheet emailed to participants. We advise walkers to wear an item of fluorescent clothing during the day to assist with being seen. Those completing the 35km and 55km routes may finish after dark and must wear reflective clothing and carry with them a head torch, fully charged mobile phone and a red light on their back for being seen.

The routes for Pilgrims Way Challenge are:

  • Wye - Canterbury - Dover: 55km – View map
  • Wye - Canterbury: 25km – View map.
  • Canterbury - Dover: 35km – View map.

If you've registered for the 55km route but want to change your mind on the day or even out on the trail, this can easily be done by presenting yourself to the de-registration staff at the Canterbury 25km finish area.

It is recommended that you download the free Pilgrims Hospices Events App for iOS and Android smartphones as it contains detailed route maps with gps tracking.

You will also receive a walker lanyard which contains printed maps of the routes.

Yes, the North Downs Way (Pilgrims Way) is clearly marked with finger posts and markers depicting an acorn on a yellow arrow. These will be supplemented with bright orange way-markers on more complicated sections of the trail, together with road crossing and hazard signs. A downloadable map will be available for you to use in advance of the event.

It is recommended that you download the free Pilgrims Hospices Events App for iOS and Android smartphones as it contains detailed route maps with gps tracking.

You will also receive a walker lanyard which contains printed maps of the routes.

East Kent has a fantastic variety of terrain and the Pilgrims Way Challenge showcases this as much as possible. This inevitably means there’s a few uphill sections for you to conquer along the way, the most notable of which is Soakham Downs at 4kms into the 25km and 55km routes, and the final climb up to the Dover Castle finish for 35km and 55km walkers. But remember, this is not a race and it is perfectly acceptable to take your time on challenging sections. Please be aware that the route requires the navigation of several stiles.

You certainly can! The Pilgrims Way Challenge is primarily a walking event. However, new for 2020, participants can test the limits of their endurance by running or jogging the route as an ultra marathon trail run.

Remember, this is not a race and it is perfectly acceptable to take your time on challenging sections. Please be aware that the route requires the navigation of several stiles and the crossing of several roads.

Runners and walkers are welcome to use their own devices to record their personal times but no official timing system is used.

There will be regular rest stops providing water and snacks along the way, as well as first aiders and medical response vehicles positioned to respond in case of an emergency. Long-distance walking can take it’s toll on the body; we strongly recommend that you carry with you a small first aid kit containing blister plasters, as well as enough food and water.

If you have any health concerns please consult your GP before taking part. It's recommended that you're able to walk at least 75% of the trail distance comfortably beforehand. If there is a medical emergency you should call 999. The emergency services are aware that the event is taking place.

There will be refreshments available on route at various feed stations positioned at intervals of between 5-10 miles. These can be viewed on the online route maps here.

Rest stop 1 - St Mary's Church, Chilham (10.7km into the 55km route, 14.4km into the 25km route)

Rest stop 2 - Chartham Hatch (15.7km into the 55km route, 19.5km into the 25km route)

Rest stop 3 - Pilgrims Hospice, Canterbury (21km into the 55km route, finish for 25km route)

Rest stop 4 - St Mary's Church, Patrixbourne (27.8km into the 55km route, 6.9km into the 35km route)

Rest stop 5 - St Margaret of Antioch Church, Womenswold (34.5km into the 55km route, 13.6km into the 35km route)

Rest stop 6 - All Saints Church, Waldershare (43.5km into the 55km route, 22.6km into the 35km route)

We're looking for volunteers to help with registration and refreshments at each location. Contact Robert Grew on 01227 812 609 or email robert.grew@pilgrimshospices.org for more information. You can also complete and return our volunteer application form.

  • Event centre facilities
  • Medical support
  • Full route marking
  • Feed stations along the route
  • Event t-shirt
  • Event lanyard with printed route maps
  • Free use of the Pilgrims Hospices Events App for event information, training and gps tracking
  • Finisher’s medal
  • On-site catering.

Everyone will be given a lanyard containing a walker number that identifies them as a participant. You must wear this number visibly so that you're easily identifiable. You'll also be given a Pilgrims t-shirt to wear to be identifiable as an event participant.

Please collect and send in your sponsorship by 3 August 2019 so we can announce the grand total raised by the Pilgrims Way Challenge and thank you for all of your fundraising efforts.

You can either hand in your sponsorship at your nearest Pilgrims hospice or send sponsorship to:

  • Supporter Relations, Pilgrims Hospices, 56 London Road, Canterbury, Kent CT2 8JA.

Suitable clothing for spending many hours outdoors in changeable weather, including a waterproof layer, suitable backpack/daypack for supplies and comfortable walking footwear that you have tested and worn in.

A full list of recommended kit is available here.

No, unfortunately we don't allow dogs to take part in the Pilgrims Way Challenge as we can't cater for them along the route and it can be difficult to manage on the trail, especially during the evening stages. However, we do think dogs make for great training companions!

There’s no denying it – walking 25km, 35km or 55km is a tough challenge by anyone’s standards. It will be physically and emotionally demanding. You'll have to overcome fatigue and tiring limbs as you battle to complete the challenge!

You'll need to prepare; training advice will be issued and you should read this carefully. The more comfortable you are with walking long distances for sustained periods, the more comfortable you'll be on the trail.

View our 6 week and 7 week training plans here.